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Virginia Tech beats Oklahoma to win 37th Virginia Duals; Kutztown, Nazareth repeat in other divisions

By Jason Bryant, Special to | Jan. 14, 2017, 11:11 p.m. (ET)

Zach Epperly of Virginia Tech battles Matt Reed of OU at 174 pounds in the Virginia Duals finals. Photo by Pat Ream.

Hampton, Virginia – A year ago, Virginia Tech was licking its wounds after an injury-riddle lineup dropped its National College Division final to Iowa State. On Saturday at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, Kevin Dresser’s squad was in better form en route to a 24-10 win over No. 15 Oklahoma.

The Hokies won its third Virginia Duals National College Division crown in the past five seasons as they won seven of 10 bouts against the 15th-ranked Sooners.

“Last year at this time, we were banged up and it wasn’t a very good feeling,” said Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser. “It’s obviously a better feeling to win. We’re not where we need to be, and I don’t want to sound unappreciative because 125 and heavyweight went out there and did work, but we need to get those middle weights shored up.”

Joey Dance got things started quickly, piling up big points in a big way against Christian Moody before finally getting the fall at 5:47. It was Dance’s third fall of the weekend and he ended up with four bonus victories in four matches.

A reversal by Dennis Gustafson in the first half of the first tiebreaker period was enough to give him a 3-2 win over Oklahoma’s Jacob Rubio at 133 pounds. It was Gustafson’s second event down at his new weight class of 133 pounds. He’d won the F&M Open a week ago.

Oklahoma’s first victory came at 141 pounds as Appalachian State transfer Drew Longo picked up a 10-2 major decision over Brenden Ryan. Virginia Tech saw the return of Kevin Norstrem to the program and the lineup this week, but Norstrem was injured in competition on Friday. Longo had a strong weekend, going 4-0 with a pair of major decisions.

All-American Solomon Chiskho scored two third-period takedowns to get past a dangerous but inconsistent Davion Jeffries 5-3 at 149 pounds. Chishko finished the weekend 4-0.

Oklahoma had a chance to cut into the Virginia Tech lead at 157 and 165 pounds. Oklahoma’s Clark Glass made the move down to 157 pounds to make room for Yoanse Mejias at 165 pounds. Glass did his part by knocking off Sal Mastriani 5-4. Mejias, a two-time junior college champion, followed with a controlling 7-2 win over David Bergida at 165 pounds. The back-to-back wins cut the Hokie lead to 12-10 heading into Virginia Tech’s powerful upper weights, but it would be the last points the Sooners would score as a team.

Second-ranked Zach Epperly converted a double leg takedown with 30 seconds left to break a 2-2 tie and get past a dangerous Matt Reed 4-2. Reed scored first with a takedown early and controlled the action well. Heading into the third, the score was tied at two apiece but Reed had 1:03 of riding time. Epperly’s takedown eliminated the riding time and pushed Virginia Tech’s lead to 15-10. Close wins by Zack Zavatsky at 184, Jared Haught at 197 and Ty Walz at heavyweight closed out the dual.

“I knew those guys from 174 to heavyweight were really scrappy and they’re going to fight you, and they’re not going to take a back seat to a ranking and obviously they didn’t,” said Dresser. “We couldn’t get things going at 174, (Reed) slowed him down and Zach hasn’t been slowed down in a long time.”

Oklahoma assistant Michael Lightner felt his team was in a position to knock off their higher-ranked opponents.

“We were in some matches and we let them slip late, there’s a few swing matches there that if we’d have fought the whole time, we’d have won,” said Lightner. “You’ve got to go out and take charge and they did in a few of the matches and we didn’t,”

The Hokies are sitting in a prime position for a big time NWCA Dual Series matchup, barring any upsets from the rest of their dual schedule.

“The goal here is to finish strong and get somebody good to come to Cassell Coliseum on February 19, so we’re shooting for that, but we have to progress and we have guys who need to dig deep right now,” said Dresser.

Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia was voted the National College Division’s Outstanding Wrestler.

Kutztown repeated as the champions of the American College Division, upending Virginia’s Ferrum College 27-12. The Golden Bears, ranked 22nd in Division II, pulled away in the middle weights with a fall from T.C. Warner at 165 pounds and a major decision from Joey Balboni at 174 pounds. Ferrum entered the tournament ranked 14th in Division III.

Nazareth (Pa.) won its fifth National High School Division championship with a tough 34-28 win over South Dade (Fla.). The five titles ties Great Bridge (Va.) for the most National Division championships in tournament history.

“They’re tough,” said Crowell about the squad from South Florida. “I had to admit it, but they’re probably tougher than I thought. Our two big wins were at 170 with (Cade) Wilson and at 113 with (Sean) Piersen – that was a huge upset.”

The championship rounds started at 125 pounds and Piersen’s victory was notable as it came over multi-time USA Wrestling age-group All-American Elijah Varona in the next-to-last bout. Ryan O’Grady sealed the victory with a win at 120, topping South Dade’s Taylor Orta.

Nazareth’s nationally ranked Sammy Sasso was the Outstanding Wrestler for the National High School Division.

Grassfield (Va.) out of nearby Chesapeake accomplished something no school has ever done in Virginia Duals history – by winning championships in back-to-back years in two different divisions. Coach Jesse Pearce’s squad won the Black and Blue Division last year and then were moved up to the American Division where they topped longtime Virginia Duals participant Camden Catholic (N.J.) 39-33.

Poquoson (Va.) won its third all-time championship and its second Black and Blue Division championship by defeating rival Smithfield (Va.) 39-18. The division almost exclusively features Virginia teams, but it was the first time in tournament history two teams from the Bay Rivers District met in the finals.


FIRST PLACE = Virginia Tech 24, Oklahoma 10

125 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) over Christian Moody (Oklahoma) Fall 5:48
133 Dennis Gustafson (Virginia Tech) over Jacob Rubio (Oklahoma) TB-1 3-2
141 Mike Longo (Oklahoma) over Brenden Ryan (Virginia Tech) Maj 10-2
149 Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech) over Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma) Dec 5-3
157 Clark Glass (Oklahoma) over Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech) Dec 5-4
165 Yoanse Mejias (Oklahoma) over David Bergida (Virginia Tech) Dec 7-2
174 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech) over Matt Reed (Oklahoma) Dec 4-3
184 Zachary Zavatsky (Virginia Tech) over Andrew Dixon (Oklahoma) Dec 4-2
197 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech) over Brad Johnson (Oklahoma) Dec 5-1
285 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) over Ross Larson (Oklahoma) Dec 9-3

THIRD PLACE - Arizona State 20, North Dakota State 19
125 Joshua Rodriguez (North Dakota State) over Michael Nguyen (Arizona State) TF 26-11
133 Cam Sykora (North Dakota State) over Ted Rico (Arizona State) TF 22-5
141 Taylor Nein (North Dakota State) over Nicholas Villarreal (Arizona State) Dec 5-3
149 Christian Pagdilao (Arizona State) over Mitchell Friedman (North Dakota State) Dec 8-6
157 Clayton Ream (North Dakota State) over Joshua Shields (Arizona State) Dec 8-4
165 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) over Andrew Fogarty (North Dakota State) TF 18-3
174 Jacen Petersen (Arizona State) over Dylan Urbach (North Dakota State) Dec 6-2
184 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) over Tyler McNutt (North Dakota State) Fall 4:25
197 Cordell Eaton (North Dakota State) over Sullivan Cauley (Arizona State) Dec 5-2
285 Tanner Hall (Arizona State) over Benjamin Tyanan (North Dakota State) Dec 4-1


FIRST PLACE - Kutztown 27, Ferrum 12
125 Zach Beckner (Ferrum) over Austin Petril (Kutztown) Dec 5-4
133 Lucas Miller (Kutztown) over Bailey Cooper (Ferrum) TF 16-0
141 Ryne Morrison (Kutztown) over Justin Zimmerman (Ferrum) SV-1 4-2
149 Chad Haegele (Kutztown) over Collin Saunders (Ferrum) Dec 9-5
157 Logan Meister (Ferrum) over James Meyer (Kutztown) Fall 1:58
165 T. C. Warner (Kutztown) over Andrew Tolbert (Ferrum) Fall 0:49
174 Joseph Balboni (Kutztown) over Blake Rosenbaum (Ferrum) Maj 18-8
184 Collin Schildt (Kutztown) over Antarian Leary (Ferrum) Dec 4-2
197 Hunter Goulart (Ferrum) over Jeff Reimel (Kutztown) Dec 6-4
285 Ryan Appleby (Kutztown) over Tate Dulany (Ferrum) Dec 10-4

THIRD PLACE - Camden CC 22, King 20
125 Reed Jacks (King) over David Harris-Norton (Camden CC) TF 17-2
133 Dustin Kirk (King) over Alex Velez (Camden CC) Fall 1:26
141 Tyler Williams (King) over Jarrett Ziegler (Camden CC) SV-1 5-3
149 Charles Bramble (Camden CC) by forfeit
157 Cory Collins (King) by forfeit
165 Cliff Owens (Camden CC) over Darius Rutland (King) Dec 2-1
174 Michael Morris (Camden CC) over Joey Mammolenti (King) Maj 10-1
184 Daishi Goto (Camden CC) over Elijah Seay (King) Dec 5-4
197 Dymere Rappa (Camden CC) over Eldon Valery (King) Dec 5-3
235 Tom Halecki (Camden CC) over Cody Davis (King) Dec 7-2
285 Double Forfeit


FIRST PLACE - Nazareth 34, South Dade 28

126 Trevor Tarsi (Nazareth) over Arie Reyes (South Dade) Maj 11-3
132 Alyis Mursuli (South Dade) over Ian Pulli (Nazareth) Maj 11-3
138 Nathan Stefanik (Nazareth) over Joel Ramirez (South Dade) Dec 3-1
145 Brevin Balmaceda (South Dade) over Connor Herceg (Nazareth) Fall 2:16
152 Sammy Sasso (Nazareth) by forfeit
160 Todd Perry (South Dade) over Brock Wilson (Nazareth) Dec 2-1
170 Cade Wilson (Nazareth) over Mikaelle Fundora (South Dade) Fall 2:40
182 Zac Keifer (Nazareth) over Fritz Doublas (South Dade) Dec 10-5
195 Travis Stefanik (Nazareth) over Corey Harvey (South Dade) Fall 5:17
220 Chei Hill (South Dade) over Tucker Klump (Nazareth) Fall 2:36
285 Kyron Taylor (South Dade) over Mohamed Tounkara (Nazareth) Fall 0:36
106 Bretli Reyna (South Dade) over Andrew Smith (Nazareth) Dec 4-2
113 Sean Pierson (Nazareth) over Elijah Varona (South Dade) Dec 3-2
120 Ryan O`Grady (Nazareth) over Tyler Orta (South Dade) Dec 7-2

THIRD PLACE - South Plainfield 36, Cathedral Prep 24
138 Joe Sacco (South Plainfield) over Marques McClorin (Cathedral Prep) Dec 4-2
145 Kyle Bythell (South Plainfield) over Albert Taylor (Cathedral Prep) Maj 10-2
152 Carter Starocci (Cathedral Prep) over Mike Marrero (South Plainfield) Fall 3:46
160 Dazjon Casto (Cathedral Prep) over Ben Lundy (South Plainfield) Dec 6-0
170 Luigi Yates (Cathedral Prep) over Brenden Hedden (South Plainfield) Dec 5-0
182 Ryan Marston (South Plainfield) over Evan Selker (Cathedral Prep) Dec 3-1
195 Luke Niemeyer (South Plainfield) over Michael Hughes (Cathedral Prep) TB-1 4-3
220 Zach DelVecchio (South Plainfield) over DyJheir Norman (Cathedral Prep) Fall 1:27
285 Kawaun Deboe (Cathedral Prep) by forfeit
106 Thomas Fierro (South Plainfield) over Jacob Brumett (Cathedral Prep) Maj 9-0
113 Alex Amato (South Plainfield) over Alex Chelton (Cathedral Prep) Dec 2-1
120 Joe Heilmann (South Plainfield) over Brady Sittinger (Cathedral Prep) Maj 9-0
126 Jake Giordano (South Plainfield) over Andrew Stark (Cathedral Prep) Fall 1:32
132 Tyler McKinney (Cathedral Prep) by forfeit


FIRST PLACE - Grassfield 39, Camden Catholic 33

126 Lucas Revano (Camden Catholic) over Brenden Lugo (Grassfield) Fall 4:27
132 Zachary Gillette (Grassfield) over Harrison Hinojosa (Camden Catholic) Fall 3:36
138 Daniel Goodwin (Grassfield) over Brandon Mooney (Camden Catholic) Fall 2:38
145 Anthony Croce (Camden Catholic) over William Haladyna (Grassfield) Fall 5:22
152 Sean Dolan (Camden Catholic) over Ryan Malfara (Grassfield) Fall 1:27
160 Garrett Schneider (Grassfield) over James Gilmore (Camden Catholic) Fall 4:00
170 Ronny Crane (Camden Catholic) over Zach Hildebrandt (Grassfield) Fall 3:07
182 Noah Hardy (Grassfield) over Jeremy Nutt (Camden Catholic) Fall 1:39
195 Stephen Burrell (Grassfield) over Anthon Blatteberger (Camden Catholic) Fall 1:40
220 Jesse Byrd (Grassfield) over Mark Loveland (Camden Catholic) Dec 8-4
285 Trevor Burns (Grassfield) over Dakota Souder (Camden Catholic) Dec 3-0
106 Riley Starcher (Grassfield) over Anthony Rosano (Camden Catholic) Dec 12-5
113 Cody Walsh (Camden Catholic) over Christian Schumaker (Grassfield) Dec 6-0
120 CJ Thompson (Camden Catholic) over Jacob Mills (Grassfield) Fall 2:46


FIRST PLACE – Poquoson 39, Smithfield 18

126 Bobby Long (Poquoson) over Andrew Elliott (Smithfield) Dec 5-0
132 Patrick McCormick (Poquoson) over Brett Deese (Smithfield) Fall 4:42
138 Hunter Darouse (Poquoson) over Preston Jones (Smithfield) Fall 1:39
145 Samuel Feliciano (Smithfield) over Cole Parks (Poquoson) Fall 4:10
152 Caleb Pihlstrom (Smithfield) over Drake Palmer (Poquoson) Fall 3:04
160 Ian Burress (Poquoson) over Jacob Walker (Smithfield) UTB 3-3
170 Colten Hicks (Poquoson) over Dawson Stevens (Smithfield) Dec 10-5
182 Stanley Smeltzer (Smithfield) over Robert Henesey (Poquoson) Dec 8-6
195 Mason Fiscella (Poquoson) over Kane Sharon (Smithfield) Fall 0:49
220 Bryce Buchanan (Poquoson) over Alex Leboffe (Smithfield) Fall 0:55
285 Double forfeit
106 Brett Poultney (Poquoson) over Brayden Kerr (Smithfield) Dec 5-1
113 Mason Parker (Smithfield) over Cole McCormick (Poquoson) Dec 3-1
120 Connor Ruff (Poquoson) over Michael Snyder (Smithfield) Dec 8-5