HAMPTON, Va. – The No. 22 Virginia wrestling team (4-1) opened the Virginia Duals with a strong performance on Friday (Jan. 10), taking a 23-12 victory over Kent State (3-6) in the first-round of the annual event at the Hampton Coliseum.

Virginia, the top-seeded team in the event, will return to action in the semifinals at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 11) against fourth-seeded Old Dominion (2-5). Old Dominion advanced with an 18-13 win over the Penn Quakers on Friday.

The Cavaliers won six of the 10 weight classes, including bonus-point wins from Justin McCoy (New Paris, Pa.) at 157 pounds and Quinn Miller (Lilburn, Ga.) at heavyweight. Patrick McCormick (Poquoson, Va.), Brian Courtney (Sayre, Pa.), Sam Martino (Colonial Heights, Va.) and Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) all won by decision on the way to the Virginia victory. 

“That was a close call and our guys had to find a way to pull that one out,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “A big shout out to Patrick McCormick, Brian Courtney, Justin McCoy, Sam Martino and Jay Aiello. Gritty wins are what seal dual meets and we won because of them. I’m happy for Quinn (Miller) and the way he got to end the match for us as well. He needed that. Now we have to get ready for a fight tomorrow against Old Dominion. They are a really talented team that likes to scrap.”

The match started with the teams trading bouts as McCormick and Courtney each picked up decisions at 125 pounds and 141 pounds, respectively, for the Cavaliers. McCormick got off to a quick start and held on for the 5-4 decision over Tomas Gutierrez at 125 pounds, while Courtney rallied with a third-period takedown on the way to a 6-5 decision over Corey Simpson.

The overall dual score sat tied at six points for each side after the first four weight classes.

McCoy gave the Cavaliers the first big push with his win at 157 pounds, using a flurry of scoring to grab a 20-5 tech fall over Brady Chisman and push Virginia out to a five-point lead in the overall dual score. Martino then followed it up with a 5-3 decision as he used a third-period takedown and the riding time point to secure a 5-3 decision over Kade Byland.

Kent State would win the next two weight classes, taking a pair of decisions at 174 and 184 pounds to cut the overall lead to two points before Aiello and Miller would lock up the victory.

Aiello rallied to take a 5-4 lead on Colin McCracken before riding out the entire third period to lock up a 6-4 decision over the Flash wrestler at 197 pounds. Heavyweight Miller then clinched the match with a pin of Spencer Berthold, surging to a 4-0 lead after the first period before locking up the pin at the 3:27 mark.

No. 22 Virginia 23, Kent State 12
 Patrick McCormick dec. Tomas Gutierrez (KSU), 5-4 – UVA 3, KSU 0
133: Tim Rooney (KSU) dec. No. 18 Louie Hayes, 3-1 – UVA 3, KSU 3
141: Brian Courtney dec. Corey Simpson (KSU), 6-5 – UVA 6, KSU 3
149: Kody Komara (KSU) dec. Denton Spencer, 7-2 – UVA 6, KSU 6
157: Justin McCoy tech fall Brady Chrisman (KSU), 20-5 (7:00) – UVA 11, KSU 6
165: Sam Martino vs. Kade Byland (KSU), 5-3 – UVA 14, KSU 6
174: Andrew McNally (KSU) dec. Victor Marcelli, 10-6 – UVA 14, KSU 9
184: Lane Hinkle (KSU) dec. Michael Battista, 4-0 – UVA 14, KSU 12
197: No. 9 Jay Aiello dec. Colin McCracken (KSU), 6-4 – UVA 17, KSU 12
HWT: Quinn Miller pinned Spencer Berthold (KSU), 3:27 – UVA 23, KSU 12