No. 7 Virginia Tech Wrestling Romps Virginia In Commonwealth Clash

On Senior Night, Mekhi Lewis did Mekhi Lewis things for Virginia Tech in its win over Virginia. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech wrestler No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (174) capped off his Cassell Coliseum career Friday night with an appropriately dominant win by fall over Virginia’s Vic Marcelli. He controlled Marcelli through the first two periods before forcing him on to his back with 53 seconds left in the match.

Lewis got better as the match went on and saved his best wrestling for last — a yearly trend that he hopes to encapsulate again this season as he continues to chase his second national championship.

The former national champion was one of six seniors to be honored on senior night in No. 7 Virginia Tech’s 33-3 romp of Virginia. VT won nine of the 10 bouts against UVa to secure co-ACC dual meet champion honors.

Lewis was one of three seniors to wrestle on Friday. No. 7 Hunter Bolen (184) and Collin Gerardi (141) wrapped up their Cassell careers against the Cavaliers as well.

Like Mekhi Lewis, Hunter Bolen also won on Senior Night, 9-5. (Ivan Morozov)

Bolen picked up his second-straight ranked victory in his Cassell finale when he took down No. 16 Neil Antrassian. With the score tied at three after the first period, the Christiansburg High School grad popped up for an escape point to start the second and then took down Antrassian twice in two minutes to secure the 9-5 victory.

Gerardi, a fifth-year senior, earned his third dual victory of the season against Dylan Cedeno. After losing 2-1 to Cedeno in overtime at the Southeast Open earlier this year, he grinded out a 2-0 victory to settle the score.

No. 5 Bryce Andonian (157) wrestled with a chip on his shoulder as well, pinning Jake Keating in only 92 seconds. The former All-American lost by major decision a week ago to UNC’s No. 2 Austin O’Connor for the fifth time in his career and came out for blood against Virginia. He led 8-1 before putting Keating on his back.

Andonian and Lewis’ pins were the only bonus-point victories for VT against UVa, but No. 23 Eddie Ventresca (125) nearly earned another in his decision win over Patrick McCormick, 8-1. The win was his second win in a row since being named the starter at 125 before the North Carolina match.

Sam Latona exploded after the first period for a huge win for the Hokies. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 6 Sam Latona (133) decisively beat Marlon Yarbrough II, 10-4. Leading by only a point, 4-3, at the end of the first period, the Alabama native stacked together an escape and a pair of takedowns to clinch the dual.

Another Tech wrestler ranked in the top 10, No. 8 Caleb Henson (149) used some late-match heroics to eke out the 8-4 win over No. 27 Jarod Verkleeren. The true freshman trailed 4-1 with a minute left in the bout before he exploded for six points in ten seconds to edge out the victory. 

No. 22 Andy Smith (197) and No. 19 Hunter Catka (285) both muscled out late victories in overtime against Virginia. 

Smith snagged a 3-1 ranked victory against No. 25 Michael Battista, which marked his sixth win of his last seven matches. Catka bullied Ethan Weatherspoon in the extra period with a takedown and a pair of backpoints for his third-straight victory, 5-1.

Hunter Catka survived in sudden victory on Friday vs. UVa. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 27 Connor Brady (165) was the only Hokie to lose against the Cavaliers, narrowly falling to No. 17 Justin McCoy, 5-4.

Virginia Tech has two weeks to rest before traveling to Raleigh for the ACC tournament on Sunday, March 5.

Results: No. 7 Virginia Tech 33, Virginia 3

125: No. 23 Eddie Ventresca (VT) dec. Patrick McCormick (UVa), 8-1

133: No. 6 Sam Latona (VT) dec. Marlon Yarbrough II (UVa), 10-4

With the Commonwealth Clash win over UVa, which featured three wins from seniors, Tony Robie & Co. won a share of the ACC dual meet title. (Ivan Morozov)

141: Collin Gerardi (VT) dec. Dylan Cedeno (UVa), 2-0

149: No. 8 Caleb Henson (VT) dec. No. 27 Jarod Verkleeren (UVa), 8-4

157: No. 5 Bryce Andonian (VT) win by fall Jake Keating (UVa), 1:32

165: No. 17 Justin McCoy (UVa) dec. No. 27 Connor Brady (VT), 5-4

174: No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (VT) win by fall Vic Marcelli (UVa), 6:07

184: No. 7 Hunter Bolen (VT) dec. No. 16 Neil Antrassian (UVa), 9-5

197: No. 22 Andy Smith (VT) dec. No. 25 Michael Battista (UVa), 3-1 (SV)

285: No. 19 Hunter Catka (VT) dec. Ethan Weatherspoon (UVa), 5-1 (SV)

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