Top 25 Battle Set For Thursday In Salem

February 17, 2010
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 17, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. - The No. 24 Old Dominion wrestling team is set to travel to Salem, Va. to take on No. 14 Virginia Tech in both squads regular season finale. The Monarchs will be looking to win their third straight match and fifth in their last six.

A year ago in Norfolk, Old Dominion defeated Virginia Tech, 19-15. It was the Monarchs' first ever win over a Top 15 program. ODU leads the all-time series 23-9 and has won five straight in the rivalry.

The nationally-ranked rivals will meet at Andrew Lewis Middle School in Salem starting at 8 p.m. The dual meet will be the opening act to the Virginia Group A and AA high school state championships, which begin Friday at the Salem Civic Center.

Old Dominion (10-4-1) is coming off a 20-15 win over American on Monday at the Ted Constant Center. Three Monarch seniors collected victories in their final home matches and No. 7 James Nicholson topped No. 16 Jasen Borshoff to lead ODU to its sixth home win this season to only one loss.

Joining Nicholson in the national rankings is a pair of seniors. Jesse Strawn is ranked No. 12 at 197-pounds and Chris Brown is No. 13 at 165-pounds. The duo has each won a team-leading 28 matches this season, while Strawn paces the team in pins (10) and Brown leads the squad in major decisions (9).

The Hokies (16-5) enter Thursday with four wrestlers ranked in the latest InterMat polls. At 125 pounds, ODU's Nicholson will take on No. 14 Jarrod Garnett. The two met last year with Nicholson winning a 5-4 decision at the Ted.

Tech's Chris Diaz (10th at 141), Jesse Dong (fifth at 157) and Tommy Spellman (18th at 184) are also ranked by InterMat, while freshman Brian Stephens is ranked in two other polls at 149 pounds.

Below are the probable lineups for both squads:

#24 Old Dominion (10-4-1) 125: #7 James Nicholson (27-1) 133: Justin LaValle (15-10) 141: Craig Wilson (17-11) 149: Cam Watkins (9-12), John Nicholson (22-7) or Brennan Brumley (17-9) 157: Joey Sheridan (13-15) 165: #13 Chris Brown (28-3) 174: Eric Decker (22-11) 184: Joe Budi (17-12) 197: #12 Jesse Strawn (28-6) 285: Grant Chapman (13-20) or Jack Burbank (4-7)

#14 Virginia Tech (16-5) 125: #14 Jarrod Garnett (19-5) 133: Brock LiVorio (9-4) 141: #10 Chris Diaz (25-3) 149: Brian Stephens (20-10) 157: #5 Jesse Dong (29-3) 165: Matt Epperly (20-8) 174: Taylor Knapp (11-15) 184: #18 Tommy Spellman (24-9) 197: Chris Penny (3-14) 285: Tim Miller (3-15)