No. 13 Virginia Tech Wrestling Suplexes George Mason On Senior Day

Mekhi Lewis and Virginia Tech crushed George Mason on senior day. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 13 Virginia Tech suplexed George Mason on Saturday on senior day, 42-5. The Hokies took nine of the 10 matches against the Patriots, eight of which were bonus-point wins.

Tech (8-3, 3-0 ACC) earned a pin and five tech falls against George Mason (10-9, 3-4 MAC) in the blowout.

“[Our] guys were fired up, excited, having fun, scoring a lot of points,” Tech head coach Tony Robie said after the match. “That was a challenge, when you [have] an opportunity to win a bunch of matches and score a lot of points. I think it helps in a lot of ways. It’s going to get a lot harder the next couple of weekends, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.

“These are great opportunities to go out and execute and work on stuff, build confidence and see some of things you’ve been working on in practice.”

The program honored graduating wrestlers Mekhi Lewis, Bryce Andonian, Dakota Howard, Connor Brady and Kolton Clark prior to the bout.

“That’s a good group of seniors,” Robie said. “Really good relationships with those guys across the board. “Obviously, Mekhi and everything he’s done for our program. It’s cool to see how much he’s grown as a person, too, from his freshman year until now. Bryce, Cody Howard, two of my favorite guys ever. It’s sad, it’s bittersweet. It’s been awesome to have them in the program and have them around and to get to know them and develop the relationships with them, but it’s sad to see them go at the same time, for a lot of reasons. 

“Kolton Clark and Connor Brady — all guys who I think exemplify what it means to be a Hokie, inside the wrestling room and outside the wrestling room, so [it was] great to celebrate those guys. Great to recognize those guys. They’ve done a heck of a lot for our program.”

Mekhi Lewis finished his career in Cassell Coliseum with a 25-1 record. (Ivan Morozov)

Widely regarded as the top wrestler in program history, No. 2 Lewis (174) finished his Cassell Coliseum career in an appropriately dominant fashion, taking down GMU’s Paul Pierce in a 21-4 technical fall win.

The former national champion ended his Tech career with a home record of 25-1, his only loss being a forfeit due to injury versus Pitt in 2021.

“It was just a reality of ‘this is almost over’ and just embrace the moment, celebrate it and be thankful and grateful for the opportunity,” said Lewis of his mindset in his final bout in Cassell. “The past couple of years dealing with injury, dealing with some mental stuff that got into my head and got in the way, could’ve made that opportunity not possible. Being able to be there and in the moment, I’m grateful for that.”

No. 13 Tom Crook (141) and Clayton Ulrey (157) each picked up their second tech falls of the weekend against the Patriots.

Following his 16-1 victory on Friday night against Duke in the Moss Arts Center, Crook shut out GMU’s Dom Hargrove on Saturday 15-0. The win improved his record on the year to 16-3.

Ulrey’s match didn’t last as long as the Grantville, Pa., native put away GMU’s Loranzo Rajaonarivelo in 5:21, 19-4. He moved to 3-1 since returning to the starting lineup in relief of the injured Bryce Andonian.

True freshmen Mac Church (149) and Jimmy Mullen (285) picked up their first career dual wins with technical falls against the Patriots on Saturday.

Virginia Tech freshman Jimmy Mullen picked up his first career dual win by technical fall on Saturday. (Ivan Morozov)

Church earned his fourth bonus-point win of the season against GMU’s Michael Rapauno. He took just 4:08 to stymie Rapuano in the 20-4 victory.

The bout at heavyweight went even faster, as Jimmy Mullen crushed GMU’s Colin Pederson, 21-5, in just 1:55. The dual-sport athlete moved to 12-3 on the year with his ninth bonus-point win.

The quickest bout of the day belonged to No. 25 Andy Smith (197), who pinned GMU’s Nick Foster in just 1:05. The Christiansburg high school product has been on a tear over the last month and has won five bouts in a row.

Tech lightweights No. 5 Cooper Flynn (125) and No. 13 Sam Latona (133) collected major decision wins on Saturday.

Flynn nabbed his second-straight major decision victory against the Patriots, beating GMU’s JB Dragovich 14-3. His win was his seventh in a row and 12th since having his Olympic redshirt pulled in December.

Latona took down his former teammate, Brandon Wittenberg, 11-3 to move to 15-5 on the season. The pair were teammates in Blacksburg for four years prior to Wittenberg’s transfer to George Mason over the offseason. 

The lone decision win of the day for Virginia Tech came at 184 as TJ Stewart grinded out a 12-6 result over GMU’s Malachi DuVall. Stewart exploded for three takedowns and two near fall points in the first period to power him to his fourth win of the season.

TJ Stewart and Virginia Tech have two crucial matches coming up against Pitt and NC State. (Ivan Morozov)

George Mason’s Evan Maag picked up the Patriots’ only win of the afternoon, taking down Kylan Montgomery (165) 18-1.

Tech returns to the mat on Friday in Pittsburgh to face No. 20 Pitt before closing out the year in Raleigh against No. 7 NC State. 

“We’ve got to go out and we’ve got to be aggressive,” Robie said. “Wrestle smart, but be aggressive and take wins and understand that it’s going to be harder. We’ve got to be on our game. We’ve got to be uber focused and dialed in and wrestle with great intensity, great focus and great effort when we step out on the mat in both of those places.

“We’ve got a lot to accomplish, a lot of opportunity in front of us, and that’s exciting to have those opportunities this time of year and be able to compete for championships.”

Results:

125: No. 5 Cooper Flynn (VT) maj dec. JB Dragovich (GMU), 14-3

133: No. 13 Sam Latona (VT) maj dec. Brandon Wittenberg (GMU), 11-3

141: No. 13 Tom Crook (VT) tech fall Dom Hargrove (GMU), 15-0 (7:00)

149: Mac Church (VT) tech fall Michael Rapuano (GMU), 20-4 (4:08)

157: Clayton Ulrey (VT) tech fall Loranzo Rajaonarivelo (GMU), 19-4 (5:21)

165: Evan Maag (GMU) tech fall Kylan Montgomery (VT), 18-1

174: No. 2 Mekhi Lewis (VT) tech fall Paul Pierce (GMU), 21-4 (6:01)

184: TJ Stewart (VT) dec. Malachi DuVall (GMU), 12-6

197: No. 25 Andy Smith (VT) win by fall Nick Foster (GMU), 1:04

285: Jimmy Mullen (VT) tech fall Colin Pederson (GMU), 21-5 (1:55)

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