LEXINGTON, Va. - The VMI Keydets won three of the night's final four matches, but their late comeback fell just short as they were edged by the Duke Blue Devils, 22-15, in non-conference wrestling action Saturday night at VMI's Cocke Hall Thunderdome. Jonathan Jones, Ted Gottwald, Mark Darr and Zeb Stewart all were credited with wins, but the 174-pound match decided the night's proceedings and was won by Duke's Trey Adamson via major decision.
After Duke (2-4) had run off five straight wins at the mid-point of the match, including a major decision (125) and a technical fall (133), Stewart won by forfeit at 149 lbs. to cut the Duke lead to 18-9. That seemed to spark a VMI (0-8) rally, as Gottwald grabbed a 4-3 win at 157 lbs., thanks to a dramatic takedown with just 17 seconds left in the match. Gottwald, in fact, scored all three third period points in his win against Duke's Immanuel Kerr-Brown to rally from a 3-1 deficit.
A similar story played out at 165, when Mark Darr trailed 2-1 entering the final period. Darr would outscore the Blue Devils' Randy Roden 7-1 in the third period, headlined by a takedown with just 10 seconds to go that gave the Keydet the lead for good. He then earned two near fall points and the riding time bonus to grab an 8-3 win, a victory that came in the freshman's first career match inside the Thunderdome. That brought up the decisive match, in which Adamson prevailed 12-3 over John Dommert.
"We wrestled very hard tonight," said VMI head coach John Trudgeon. "We wrestled our hearts out. Tonight, we put a very young team on the mat and they put forth a great effort, coming off a solid week of practice. Our guys just needed to win a couple of those close matches. We needed to find a way to ride, to get a takedown or not get taken down. It was a solid effort tonight, and we will get better going forward."
Earlier in the evening, Jones got the night off to a good start for the home team, shutting out Dylan Ryan 6-0 in the 184-pound match. In fact, the sophomore complied four minutes of riding time in the seven minute bout. He would tack on two takedowns and an escape for the 6-0 decision win.
The next two matches were dramatic, as the 197-pound match went to overtime, where Duke's Michael Chapman prevailed 6-4, and the heavyweight battle was won by Duke's Brian Self 3-2 in the first tie breaker period. The Blue Devils would then take the 125-pound bout by major decision, 11-3, and would win the 133-pound contest by technical fall to set the stage for the VMI comeback and the final match dramatics.
VMI wrestling will return to action January 25, as the Keydets travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. to face the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
VMI 15 (0-8)
Duke 22 (2-4)
Weight: Winner (School) Type Loser (School) Result - Running Score DUKE-VMI
184: Jonathan Jones (VMI) DEC Dylan Ryan (Duke) 6-0 - 0-3
197: Michael Chapman (Duke) DEC (SV1) Urayoan Garcia (VMI) 6-4 - 3-3
285: Brian Self (Duke) DEC (TB1) Michael LaPrade (VMI) 3-2 - 6-3
125: Peter Terrezza (Duke) MAJ DEC Armando Herrera (VMI) 11-3 - 10-3
133: Brandon Gambucci (Duke) TECH FALL Andriy Onufriyenko (VMI) 17-0 - 15-3
141: Tanner Hough (Duke) DEC Ryan Goodsell (VMI) 4-2 - 18-3
149: Zeb Stewart (VMI) FORFEIT 6-0 - 18-9
157: Ted Gottwald (VMI) DEC Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Duke) 4-3 - 18-12
165: Mark Darr (VMI) DEC Randy Roden (DUKE) 8-3 - 18-15
174: Trey Adamson (Duke) MAJ DEC John Dommert (VMI) 12-3 - 22-15