On Friday night, the Commonwealth Clash made its return to Blacksburg with No. 7 Virginia Tech seizing momentum early and never surrendering it, cruising to a win over Virginia, 33-3.
The Hokies notched their 11th straight win over the Cavaliers en route to earning a share of the ACC regular season dual meet title.
No. 8 Caleb Henson (149) got the night started with a thrilling comeback win over No. 27 Jarod Verkleeren. Trailing 4-1 late in the third round, Henson flipped the script securing points for a takedown and a near fall to give him the 9-4 decision.
Bouncing back in a big way was No. 5 Bryce Andonian (157), recovering from last week’s dual loss at No. 25 North Carolina with a victory by fall over UVA’s Jake Keating. Andonian’s explosiveness was on full display as just over a minute and a half in, Andonian ended the bout in spectacular fashion.
MY GOODNESS. HUMAN. HIGHLIGHT. REEL.#Team100 #Hokies pic.twitter.com/sgCrjpJASW— Virginia Tech Wrestling (@HokiesWrestling) February 18, 2023
Tech’s lone dual loss of the night came as No. 27 Connor Brady’s upset bid fell short as Virginia’s No. 17 Justin McCoy got a late takedown to secure the 5-4 victory.
It was also Senior Night in Cassell Coliseum and the three wrestling seniors did not disappoint in their final bouts.
No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (174) sent the home crowd into a frenzy after securing the victory by fall over Virginia’s Vic Marcelli.
KING. OF. THE. CASSELL.#Team100 #Hokies pic.twitter.com/djjzfY7pc5— Virginia Tech Wrestling (@HokiesWrestling) February 18, 2023
The 2019 national champion received a well-deserved standing ovation from the home crowd, as Lewis will potentially leave Virginia Tech as one of the greatest athletes in Hokie history if this is his last home bout in a VT uniform.
With one year of eligibility remaining, it is still unknown whether or not Lewis’ career in the maroon and orange has come to a close.
No. 7 Hunter Bolen (184) picked up a ranked win over No. 16 Neil Antrassian to finish with a 17-4 dual record on the season. The Christiansburg Cowboy racked up three takedowns and secured over two minutes of riding time. With the win, Bolen secured his 97th victory as a Hokie.
Collin Gerardi (141) closed out the night and his career with a narrow 2-0 decision over Dylan Cedeno. Gerardi strategically maneuvered through the bout, as it was scoreless after two rounds. Gerardi got a late escape in the third round and secured riding time to take home the Senior Night victory.
One of the bright young wrestlers for Tech, No. 23 Eddie Ventresca (125), kept the stove burning as he secured his seventh-straight victory with an 8-1 win over Patrick McCormick. Fresh off a ranked upset over UNC’s No. 17 Jack Wagner, Ventresca showed no signs of slowing down, dominating wire-to-wire.
No. 6 Sam Latona, No. 22 Andy Smith and No. 19 Hunter Catka all won their bouts for the Hokies, finishing their regular season on a high note.
With the win, No. 7 Virginia Tech finishes the regular season with a 4-1 ACC record, putting them in a three-way tie for first place with NC State and Pittsburgh, earning a share of the ACC Dual Meet title.
Up next, Virginia Tech prepares for ACC Wrestling Championships in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hokies will look to dethrone the hosts in the NC State Wolfpack, winners of the previous four ACC Championships.
125: #23 Eddie Ventresca DEC Patrick McCormick (Virginia), 8-1
133: #6 Sam Latona DEC Marlon Yarbrough II (Virginia), 11-4
141: Collin Gerardi DEC Dylan Cedeno (Virginia), 2-0
149: #8 Caleb Henson DEC #27 Jarod Verkleeren (Virginia), 9-4
157: #5 Bryce Andonian FALL Jake Keating (Virginia), 1:32
165: #27 Connor Brady loss #17 Justin McCoy (Virginia), 4-5
174: #3 Mekhi Lewis FALL Vic Marcelli (Virginia), 6:03
184: #7 Hunter Bolen DEC #16 Neil Antrassian (Virginia), 9-5
197: #22 Andy Smith DEC #25 Michael Battista (Virginia), 3-1 in sudden victory
285: #19 Hunter Catka DEC Ethan Weatherspoon (Virginia), 5-1 SV