#8 Virginia Tech Wrestling Beats Virginia 19-15

#8 Virginia Tech Wrestling Beats Virginia 19-15
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jan 23, 2021

After seeing their dual meet with #14 North Carolina postponed due to COVID issues at UNC, #8 Virginia Tech Wrestling returned to the mat for their ACC opener against Virginia and started their ACC season off the right way.

The #8 Hokies beat Virginia 19-15 to stay undefeated in dual meets this season at 5-0 overall. This gives Tech some ACC momentum heading into next weekend where they will wrestle Duke in Durham Friday night followed by their rescheduled dual meet against #14 North Carolina Saturday night in Chapel Hill.

Tech's best wrestlers stepped up the most in these matchups starting with star redshirt freshman, #10 Sam Latona opened things up in impressive fashion with an 18-3 tech fall victory against UVA's Sam Book as Latona continues to emerge as the next star Tech wrestler that can challenge for national titles.

Arguably the biggest matchup of the day came at 133 and Korbin Myers put on a show as the 8th-ranked Hokie took down #12 Louie Hayes in a dominant 12-1 major decision victory. The win was the first bonus points earned by Myers this season as the veteran senior is starting to find his best form and making it clear that he is a serious national contender at 133 this season.

Sam Hillegas has been solid on the season overall as a true freshman at 141 but had a setback against UVA losing 8-3 to Brian Courtney. Hillegas has been solid so far, but likely will be pushed plenty by former 133 starter Collin Gerardi who has slid up to 141 with the return of Myers and beat UVA's Dylan Cedeno in one of the extra matches that teams have been doing to get their backups experience given the lack of tournaments due to the pandemic.

#12 Bryce Andonian continues to get better and better as the sophomore dominated his match against Denton Spencer on his way to an 8-0 major decision victory, giving the Hokies a massive 13-3 lead early. Connor Brady fought tough against #15 Justin McCoy at 157, but McCoy was able to keep UVA's slim hopes of a comeback alive with a 3-2 victory.

However, Mekhi Lewis helped it out of reach as the defending national champion and top ranked 165 wrestler in America beat #15 Jake Keating 8-2 as Lewis continues to dominate his weight class.

Dakota Howard also fought tough at 174 but came up short against Vic Marcelli suffering 6-4 loss. #2 Hunter Bolen got things turned around quickly though with a comfortable 10-4 victory against Michael Battista.

Andy Smith has been a pleasant surprise at 197 with some quality wins and some tough fighting against some of the best at his weight class including #2 Jay Aiello, but Aiello had more than enough for a 10-3 victory. However, Smith holding Aiello off the board in terms of bonus team points locked up Tech's dual meet victory.

At heavyweight, Virginia Tech went with Hunter Catka with it being unclear why #15 John Borst didn't wrestle though it's possible Tech simply wanted to get Catka more experience and rest Borst. Regardless, Catka didn't have enough to pull off the upset as UVA's #20 Quinn Miller beat the promising freshman 4-0.

Virginia Tech took care of business as they were supposed and should do so against Duke, likely using some backups where they can. However, the Hokies have some ACC momentum that they can carry into next Saturday's important ACC dual meet/litmus test against North Carolina.