Tech set to wrap up regular season against Liberty
BLACKSBURG - The sixth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling squad will take on Liberty University Thursday night at Andrew Lewis Middle School in nearby Salem as the Hokies wrap up their regular season. The match starts at 8 o?clock and tickets are $5 per person.
Tech comes in at 19-4 overall and 5-0 in the ACC while Liberty is 13-6 and winners of seven straight dual matches. The Hokies lead the series with the Flames 6-2 in a series that dates back to 1977. Tech won the lone matchup (in 2006) since Liberty re-instated its program.
For heavyweight David Marone, his match is a big one as a win would put him over the threshold in winning percentage to garner him a chance to qualify at all three standards for the NCAA qualification system, making him a gold qualifier. Seven Tech wrestlers should grab qualifying spots at their respective weight classes while one more still has a chance.
Additionally, sophomore Cameron Hurd will get the call at 149 pounds in place of Brian Stephens. Hurd is a Roanoke native who attended Northside High before spending a year at Liberty University. He transferred to Tech last year.
The Hokies can tie or break several records with a big performance Thursday night. A team win would be their 20th of the season, tying the school record set in the 2008-09 season. Tech can break the school record for individual dual wins with a shutout Thursday night and tie the record with nine wins. The school record is 158, set in the 2008-09 and Tech currently sits with 149. The Hokies have already broken the school record for major decisions (61) and are close to the technical falls mark (have 27, record is 30).
Live stats for Thursday night?s match can be found here.
Andrew Lewis Middle School is located at 616 South College Avenue, Salem, VA 24153.
Below are the probable lineups for both squads as submitted by the respective coaching staffs:
#6 Virginia Tech (19-4)
125: #14 Jarrod Garnett (25-7)
133: #10 Devin Carter (29-5)
141: Zach Neibert (21-6)
149: Cameron Hurd (20-9)
157: #5 Jesse Dong (14-1)
165: #14 Pete Yates (25-6)
174: Matt Epperly (13-12)
184: John Dickson (16-16)
197: Chris Penny (10-20)
285: David Marone (17-7)
125: Joel Stafford (11-5) OR Justin Branham (8-12)
133: T.J. Mitchell (16-13)
141: Bobby Leffew (9-12)
149: Peter Crawford (8-11)
157: Julian Colon (14-11)
165: Chad Porter (18-8)
174: Jonathan Perkins (1-9) OR Eli Sanchez (4-16)
184: Marcus Neilson (2-7) OR Aaron Kelley (9-3)
197: Aaron Thompson (13-11)
285: Josh Pelletier (15-6) OR Jake Wright (0-3)
The Hokies will also send 15 wrestlers to the Clarion Open on Saturday in Pennsylvania. Epperly is going so that he can get the necessary number of matches at 174 pounds to have a shot at grabbing a silver status for NCAA qualification purposes. He will have 15 matches after Thursday night and needs 17 to be eligible for the RPI portion of the process. Those 16 wrestlers are listed below:
125: Ty Mitch (unattached)
133: Tom Reynolds (unattached)
133: Erik Spjut (unattached)
149: Dalton Davidson
149: Cameron Hurd
149: Nick Murray (unattached)
157: Harrison Hightower (unattached)
157: Taylor Knapp (unattached)
157: Matt Tusick (unattached)
165: Chris Moon
174: Matt Epperly
174: Sam Law (unattached)
174: Nick Vetterlein
184: Angelo Malvestuto (unattached)
197: Bobby Lavelle (unattached)
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).