On the heels of a failed comeback attempt against No. 9 Ohio State less than twelve hours prior, No. 8 Virginia Tech responded with a statement victory, a 35-6 win over Gardner-Webb.
“Your approach has got to be the same every time you step on the mat,” head coach Tony Robie said. “Regardless of who we’re wrestling or where it’s at, mentally and physically, you’ve got to put yourself in the mindset that you’re competing in the NCAA tournament.”
The Hokies had three former NCAA qualifiers snag victories on Saturday, including No. 9 Hunter Bolen. The Christiansburg High School alum imposed his will on Gardner-Webb’s Jha’Quan Anderson, winning by technical fall, 18-2.
“[I was] just having fun and enjoying it,” Bolen said of his two victories this weekend.
One Virginia Tech wrestler who certainly enjoyed Saturday was 149-pounder Kylan Montgomery, who got his first career dual win in a decision victory over Gardner-Webb’s Brandon Bright, 5-2.
“[I] was happy for [Montgomery], who’s an unrecruited walk-on,” Robie said. “[He] just showed up here. [He’s an] Aerospace Engineering major. To get a win for him was pretty cool, so [I] was glad to see that.”
Montgomery filled in for No. 9 Bryce Andonian, who lost on Friday to Ohio State’s No. 2 Sammy Sasso.
Unlike Andonian, No. 4 Mekhi Lewis suited up for the Hokies in both of the weekend’s matches, outscoring his opponents 25-9. Lewis made easy work of GW’s Evan Schenk on Saturday, earning a 19-6 technical fall victory.
“It felt good [to be back out there],” Lewis said. “All the hard work that I put in, mentally, physically, has helped, and it’s shown this week. I’m just excited.”
While Lewis’ already has his name etched into the Virginia Tech sports history books, No. 29 Connor Brady has been quietly making a name for himself at 157 pounds.
The redshirt-sophomore won both of his matches over the weekend, including an impressive major decision victory over GW’s Tyler Brignola, 12-4.
“I think I wrestled well,” Brady said. “[I] was kinda hanging on in the first period a little bit, riding a little bit too much [and] looking for turns”
Even though Virginia Tech grabbed the win on Saturday, there is still quite a bit of work to be done before its upcoming matches and, eventually, the NCAA tournament.
“As a team, we’ve still got a lot to work on, but it’s early in the season,” Lewis said. “When March comes, we’re gonna be ready.”
“There’s a lot of areas [to work on],” Robie said. “I think it’s more individual-based. I think as a team, [we need to work on] just finishing takedowns. We didn’t do a great job of converting takedowns in a lot of cases on single-legs.”
The Hokies will have the opportunity to show how much they’ve improved in two weeks when they head to Colombia, Mo. to take on No. 3 Missouri and No. 16 Northern Iowa.
125: No. 12 Sam Latona (VT) WBF Aedyn Concepcion (GW)
133: Todd Carter (GW) dec. Brandon Wittenberg (VT), 8-6 (SV)
141: Collin Gerardi (VT) dec. Trevon Majette (GW), 1-0
149: Kylan Montgomery (VT) dec. Brandon Bright (GW), 5-2
157: No. 29 Connor Brady (VT) MD Tyler Brignola (GW), 12-4
165: No. 28 R.J. Mosley (GW) dec. Clayton Ulrey (VT), 10-7
174: No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (VT) MD Evan Schenk (GW), 19-6
184: No. 9 Hunter Bolen (VT) TF Jha’Quan Anderson (GW) ,18-2
197: Dakota Howard (VT) dec. Anthony Perrine (GW), 10-7
285 (HWT): No. 14 Nathan Traxler (VT) WBF Peyton McComas (GW)
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Thank you Jack. Outstanding coverage as always.
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