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No. 9 Ohio State rallies past No. 8 Virginia Tech in wrestling
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No. 9 Ohio State rallies past No. 8 Virginia Tech in wrestling

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BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech wrestling team did not pass its first test of the season.

Ninth-ranked Ohio State won the final two matches of the night to rally past the eighth-ranked Hokies 17-13 on Friday at Cassell Coliseum.

It was the first dual match of the season for the Hokies.

“We knew it was going to be pretty evenly contested,” Tech coach Tony Robie said after the match. “We lost some close matches.

“There’s definitely areas we can get better in. Some of it’s wrestling related. Some of it’s … things outside of wrestling — weight management.

“Probably an area that we need to work on is finishing takedowns. Probably cost us some matches.”

The Buckeyes (2-0) won six of the 10 bouts.

“We had an opportunity … to have a special victory in Cassell over a good team in front of a great crowd. So it’s disappointing that we didn’t get the W,” Robie said. “But at the end of the day, it’s still November. And March is a long ways away.

“But technically, there’s some things we definitely need to correct. You’ve got to learn from your losses.”

Korbin Myers, Connor Brady, Mekhi Lewis and Hunter Bolen won for Tech.

The fourth-ranked Lewis beat sixth-ranked Ethan Smith 6-4 at 174 pounds to cut the Ohio State lead to 12-10.

“He could’ve scored at least one or two more takedowns, but that [Ohio State] guy’s good,” Robie said.

Lewis, a former NCAA champ at 165, earned an escape point early in the third period to grab a 4-3 lead. He had a takedown to extend his lead to 6-3.

After the two wrestlers went off the mat with 31.5 seconds left, there was some jawing and the two had to be separated.

Lewis beat his chest at the end of the match.

“I have no idea what was said, but it obviously set him off,” Robie said.

Bolen, a Christiansburg graduate ranked ninth at 184, beat No. 21 Rocky Jordan 7-1 to give Tech a 13-12 lead.

“He dominated every second of the match,” Robie said.

Ohio State’s Gavin Hoffman, ranked 24th at 197, beat Dakota Howard 3-2 in the penultimate bout to give the visitors a 15-13 lead.

Hoffman picked up an escape point to grab a 3-2 lead in the third period.

“You’ve got to finish takedowns,” Robie said of Howard. “You can’t get to the leg that many times and have the same thing happen and not make adjustments.

“The blood didn’t help us. I think there were six blood timeouts. Cody’s really good at getting guys tired, and it’s hard to do that when that happens.”

A win in the final bout would have won the match for the Hokies. But seventh-ranked heavyweight Tate Orndorff beat 14th-ranked Nathan Traxler 3-2 to seal the win.

It looked like Traxler had scored a third-period takedown to grab a 3-1 lead, but the officials ruled there was no takedown. Robie challenged the call, but the call stood after a replay review.

Orndorff had a takedown with about a minute left to grab a 3-1 lead.

“Heavyweight, we need to be in a little better shape. We need to be able to wrestle the whole time,” Robie said.

In the first match of the night, No. 14 Malik Heinselman of Ohio State beat No. 12 Sam Latona 5-2 at 125 pounds. Heinselman grabbed a 3-1 lead with a takedown with 40 seconds to go.

“Not offensive enough,” Robie said of Latona. “He didn’t get to the leg one time and that’s a function of not doing enough.

“When … you’re not aggressive and you don’t attack at a high rate, you put yourself in a position to lose.”

Dylan D’Emilio of Ohio State beat Collin Gerardi 4-0 at 141 pounds. The bout was scoreless entering the third period.

Second-ranked Sammy Sasso of Ohio State, who made the NCAA finals last season, defeated ninth-ranked Bryce Andonian 11-7 at 149.

“Bryce has got to wrestle a little smarter sometimes,” Robie said. “There are certain positions against Sasso that you really want to try to avoid.”

The Hokies were without two injured wrestlers.

Results

125: No. 14 Heinselman (OSU) def. No. 12 Latona 5-2

133: No. 4 Myers (VT) def. Koontz 10-2

141: D’Emilio (OSU) def. Gerardi 4-0

149: No. 2 Sasso (OSU) def. No. 9 Andonian 11-7

157: No. 29 Brady def. Hepner 3-2

165: No. 10 Kharchla (OSU) def. Ulrey 5-2

174: No. 4 Lewis (VT) def. No. 6 Smith 6-4

184: No. 9 Bolen (VT) def. No. 21 Jordan 7-1

197: No. 24 Hoffman (OSU) def. Howard 3-2

Heavyweight: No. 7 Orndorff (OSU) def. No. 14 Traxler 3-2

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Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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