No. 4 Mekhi Lewis ran over to the edge of the mat in front of the scorer’s table beating his chest after taking down No. 6 Ethan Smith, 6-3.
A pumped up Cassell Coliseum, filled with fans for the first time in over a year, exploded with cheers for the former national champion.
The outing proved that Lewis is still one of the country’s most talented wrestlers, despite moving up to 174 pounds this year and coming off of a torn pectoral injury.
Lewis’s decision victory brought No. 8 Virginia Tech within two points of No. 9 Ohio State’s lead, but it would all be for naught, as the Hokies fell to the Buckeyes to open the year, 17-13. The loss is Tech’s first in over a year after going undefeated in the regular season last year.
The three matches that highlighted the night came from Lewis, Bryce Andonian, and Nathan Traxler.
Lewis’ victory against Smith at 174 started with a quick takedown. Smith responded with a reversal, but an immediate escape from Lewis gave him a 3-2 lead after the first three minutes.
The lone point scored in the second period came off an escape by Smith, tying things up at three heading into the third period. Lewis added an escape and a takedown in the third period to snag the 6-3 victory.
Tech’s No. 9 Bryce Andonian fell to No. 2 Sammy Sasso at 149, 10-7, but not before giving the former All-American a run for his money.
Sasso began the match with three quick takedowns combated by two escapes from Andonian. It looked like Andonian would go into the second period with a four-point deficit before the junior world bronze medalist flipped Sasso and was awarded a reversal.
The only point in the second came off of a Sasso escape, leaving Andonian trailing by 7-4 going into the final frame.
Andonian quickly escaped Sasso’s grasp to begin the third period, bringing him within two points. Sasso then earned a takedown, which was immediately countered by another reversal from Andonian.
Andonian couldn’t get another two points to tie things up, and Sasso earned another point for his 1:16 of riding time in the match.
While it wasn’t the match with the most intrigue heading into the night, No. 14 Nathan Traxler (VT) vs. No. 7 Tate Orndorff (OSU) at heavyweight was the match that sealed the victory for the Buckeyes.
With the Hokies trailing by two, all Traxler needed was a decision to win it all for the Hokies, but he couldn’t get past Orndorff, falling 3-2.
Neither wrestler scored in the first period, but Orndorff got the scoring started in the second with an escape. Traxler didn’t score in the second, but did pick up 1:18 in riding time.
Traxler nearly had a takedown in the third period that would’ve given him the lead, but the ruling of no takedown stood after a challenge from head coach Tony Robie.
Orndorff then scored on a takedown to take a 3-1 lead. A second stalling call on Orndorff led to a point awarded to Traxler to cut the deficit to one, but it wasn’t enough, as he lost the riding time advantage.
No. 4 Korbin Myers, No. 29 Connor Brady, and No. 9 Hunter Bolen all began their 2022 dual season with victories. No. 12 Sam Latona, Collin Gerardi, Clayton Ulrey, and Dakota Howard all lost on Friday night.
Virginia Tech will turn around and host Gardner-Webb on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ACCNX)
125: No. 14 Malik Heinselman (OSU) dec. No. 12 Sam Latona (VT), 5-2.
133: No. 4 Korbin Myers (VT) major dec. Dylan Koontz (OSU), 10-2
141: Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) dec. Collin Gerardi (VT), 4-0
149: No. 2 Sammy Sossa (OSU) dec. No. 9 Bryce Andonian (VT), 10-7
157: No. 29 Connor Brady (VT) dec. Bryce Hepner (OSU), 3-2
165: No. 10 Carson Kharchla (OSU) dec. Clayton Ulrey (VT), 5-2
174: No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (VT) dec. No. 6 Ethan Smith (OSU), 6-3
184: No. 9 Hunter Bolen (VT) dec. No. 21 Rocky Jordan (OSU), 7-1
197: No. 24 Gavin Hoffman (OSU) dec. Dakota Howard (VT), 3-2
285 (HWT): No. 7 Tate Orndorff (OSU) dec. No. 14 Nathan Traxler (VT), 3-2