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Virginia Tech cruises to 28-8 victory over UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Virginia Tech wrestling team continued its winning ways in the all-time series against North Carolina as the No. 6 Hokies (7-1, 1-0 ACC) throttled the Tar Heels (4-3, 0-1 ACC), 28-8, at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill on Sunday evening.

Key victories from freshman Dominic Latona at 133 and redshirt sophomore Ryan Blees at 157 paved the way for the Hokies' upperweights and sweet revenge for redshirt junior Zach Epperly at 174 pounds. Tech has now won its last nine meetings with UNC dating back to 2009 and lead 36-31-2 in the all-time head-to-head.

After senior Joey Dance picked up his second major decision of the weekend, Latona trailed Nicholas Lirette 4-2 after the first period at 133. An escape midway through the second cut his deficit to one and, seconds later, jumped out to a 5-4 lead. Latona's reversal of riding time in the second period proved to be difference maker in his 6-5 decision that extended the Hokies' lead to 7-0.

A tech fall at 141 got the Tar Heels on the board, 7-5, but redshirt sophomore Solomon Chishko put Tech back on track at 149 where he racked up 1:15 of riding time and three TDs in the first period. UNC's Troy Heilmann erased the possibility of a major decision with some late points but Chishko settled for a 10-5 decision that made the match score 10-5.

Blees followed Chishko with a gritty performance at 157 as he picked up his first win of the weekend with 6-5 decision over Joey Moon. The Tar Heels refused to go away quietly though as they took the 165-pound bout that set the stage for a top 10 showdown at 174.

Last year's ACC Championship match at 174 was a 3-2 win in favor of UNC's Ethan Ramos. Sunday night was a different story for Epperly as he used two near fall points in the second period to get retribution over seventh-ranked Ramos, 8-2, and extend Tech's lead in the dual to 16-8.

The rout was on after a convincing tech fall from redshirt sophomore Zack Zavatsky at 184 pounds and wins from redshirt junior Jared Haught at 197 and redshirt Ty Walz at heavyweight. Walz's major decision gave him nine bonus points on the season.

The Hokies next travel to the 757 for the Virginia Duals that runs from Friday, Jan. 13 to Saturday, Jan. 14.

Results:
125: No. 2 Joey Dance MD James Szymanski, 13-1
133: Dominic Latona dec. Nicholas Lirette, 6-5
141: No. 5 Joey Ward TF Brendan Ryan, 16-0 (4:48)
149: No. 7 Solomon Chishko dec. Troy Heilmann, 11-5
157: Ryan Blees dec. Joey Moon, 6-5
165: Devin Kane dec. David Bergida, 8-4
174: No. 2 Zach Epperly dec. No. 7 Ethan Ramos, 8-2
184: No. 4 Zack Zavatsky TF Elijah Kerr-Brown, 20-5 (2:54)
197: No. 3 Jared Haught dec. Danny Chaid, 8-2
HWT: No. 3 Ty Walz MD Cory Daniel, 14-4

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