Sunday night, the #4 ranked Hokies wrestling team took on Clarion at Cassell Coliseum. In my preview of the match I said that the match should be fairly competitive. I said this based on the team I watched lose to #25 ranked Iowa State at the Salem Civic Center in November. The Hokies could not have proven me more wrong. With only a few changes in the lineup and one starter out (Tommy Spellman), the #4 ranked Hokies blew Clarion out of the Cassell with a dominating 39-3 win.
The Hokies came out of the gate quick and 125 pound wrestler #13 ranked Jarrod Garnett got a quick two period 17-1 technical fall*. Freshman sensation #8 ranked Devin Carter followed with a dominating 1:04 pin. The other notable match of the night was between #5 ranked Hokie Jesse Dong, who was upset just the day before at UNC, and #12 ranked Kyle Braddock. When these two stepped on the mat I turned to a friend and said, "This will be the match of the night." Once again, I was proven wrong by a Hokie. Jesse came after Braddock off the whistle, took him down, and recorded the pin for Tech in just :29 seconds. The lone loss of the night for the Hokies was at 197 pounds, Alex Thomas of Clarion picked up a 12-8 win over Chris Penny.
Though the Hokies had just picked up wins over #2 ranked Oklahoma State and #4 ranked Wisconsin a week earlier, I still figured this as a decently competitive match. The January team just has this swagger about them that I did not see in the Hokies in November. It seemed to me that the Hokies went on the mat expecting to dominate, and they did just that. My excitement for the Hokies wrestling program has only grown after Sunday night and I am looking for big things out of the Hokies in the next two and a half months and throughout the ACC Championships and NCAA Championships.
The Hokies wrestling squad will hit the mat again this weekend for two duals. They will see #18 ranked Rutgers in New Jersey at 7:00 p.m. on Friday. After that the Hokies will go to College Park and take on ACC foe Maryland Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Hokies will hit the mat again at the Cassell on Friday January 28 at 7:00 p.m when they will take on Lehigh.
*A technical fall is when one wrestler goes ahead by 15 points or more in the match. At this point, the match is stopped and the wrestler ahead is declared the winner.