Hokies return home to face No. 12 Lehigh Friday

BLACKSBURG - The sixth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling squad (14-4) will return home for a tough dual meet Friday night, taking on No. 12 Lehigh (10-5) at 7 o?clock inside Cassell Coliseum. Admission, as always, is free.

The Lehigh match is a highly anticipated one as the Mountain Hawks knocked off No. 1 Cornell last week, a team the Hokies fell to in the championship match of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in early January. Two matches will feature a pair of top-20 competitors, according to InterMat?s latest poll. At 133 pounds, eighth-ranked Devin Carter will tangle with Lehigh?s 20th-ranked Frank Cagnina. At 165 pounds, Tech?s Pete Yates (15th) will take on 20th-ranked Brandon Hatchett.

?Lehigh just last week defeated the number one team in the country in Cornell so to say we have our hands full is an understatement,? head coach Kevin Dresser said. ?Beating Lehigh Friday night would probably be one of the biggest dual meet wins ever at Cassell Coliseum so we need to be ready to go. Obviously we are a little short-handed without Tommy Spellman and that needs to create even more urgency for our guys.?

The two teams have four common opponents: Central Michigan, UNC Greensboro, Kent State and Cornell. Lehigh beat CMU 23-9; Tech beat CMU 30-10. Lehigh beat UNCG 33-6; Tech beat UNCG 17-15. Lehigh lost to KSU; Tech beat KSU 25-12. Lehigh beat Cornell 17-15; Tech lost to Cornell 10-25.

Tech is 0-2 against the Mountain Hawks, losing in 2000 and last year on the road. There could be two rematches from last year?s match: at 149 pounds, Tech?s Brian Stephens beat Joey Napoli 6-2 and at 157 pounds, Tech?s Jesse Dong beat Sean Bilodeau 10-6.

Before the Hokies take on Lehigh, there will be a top-flight high school match inside Cassell featuring Christiansburg and Grundy in their annual grudge match. The two schools are the previous stops of current Tech head coach Kevin Dresser as he won multiple state titles at both schools. Christiansburg is ranked 25th in the country in the latest InterMat Super 50 poll. That match will begin at 5 o?clock.

Two of Tech?s current starters - freshman Devin Carter at 133 pounds and senior Matt Epperly at 174 pounds - wrestled at Christiansburg and the Hokies have had several wrestlers come from Grundy High School, including four-time NCAA qualifier Scott Justus.

Below are the starting lineups for both squads, as submitted by the respective coaching staffs.

#6 Virginia Tech (14-4)
125: #16 Jarrod Garnett (21-6)
133: #9 Devin Carter (24-5)
141: #19 Chris Diaz (22-7)
149: #8 Brian Stephens (22-7)
157: #8 Jesse Dong (9-1)
165: #15 Pete Yates (20-6)
174: Matt Epperly (10-10)
184: John Dickson (15-12)
197: Chris Penny (9-18)
285: David Marone (13-6)

#12 Lehigh (10-5)
125: Mitch Berger (7-12)
133: #20 Frank Cagnina (13-2)
141: Stephen Dutton (13-9)
149: Joey Napoli (10-7)
157: Sean Bilodeau (6-4)
165: #20 Brandon Hatchett (10-8)
174: #12 Austin Meys (13-8)
184: #4 Robert Hamlin (18-2)
197: #12 Joe Kennedy (12-7)
285: #1 Zach Rey (20-0)

Additionally, several Tech wrestlers will head to Boone, N.C., on Saturday for the Appalachian State Open.

125: Ty Mitch (unattached)
133: Tom Reynolds
133: Erik Spjut (unattached)
149: Cameron Hurd
149: Nick Murray
157: Taylor Knapp (unattached)
157: Matt Tusick (unattached)
157: Harrison Hightower (unattached)
165: Chris Moon
174: Nick Vetterlein
174: Robbie Wannenburg (unattached)
184: Angelo Malvestuto (unattached)
197: Bobby Lavelle




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