CHARLESTON, S.C. – Looking for a win over The Citadel for the first time in 11 years, the VMI wrestling team accomplished the feat by topping the Bulldogs, 24-21, Thursday night at McAlister Field House in Charleston, South Carolina.
The win is the first for the program over the Bulldogs since Feb. 18, 2007, a 21-18 VMI victory, to end 11 consecutive matches won by The Citadel. The win marked VMI’s 40th all-time against its archrival to improve to 40-24 in the series history. The win was also the Keydets’ second of the year to improve to 2-7, 2-2 this season.
The closely contested match featured four pins (two per team) and six bouts overall with bonus points as only four bouts were determined by decision.
The Keydets jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead by way of a Clifton Conway tech fall at 125 pounds followed by a 14-4 major decision by redshirt junior Hunter Starner at 133 pounds.
The Citadel bounced back, however, to knot it up at nine apiece by claiming the next two weights by a decision at 141 and a Tyler Buckiso pin over VMI’s Michael Hulcher 149. At 157 pounds, The Citadel’s Rian Burris earned a 7-2 decision over Robert duPont but the Keydets regained the lead at 165 as Blake Hohman pinned Bulldog Michael Mewhorter in 5:54 to put VMI up, 15-12, with four bouts left.
In what proved to be a critical bout at 174 pounds, VMI’s Gage Levine faced an 8-3 deficit heading into the third period after nearly being pinned in the first period. The Citadel’s William Curtis chose bottom for the period and Levine was able to put him on his back at the 6:06 mark to earn six team points by way of a fall to put VMI ahead, 21-12.
VMI 184-pound sophomore Chris Beck sealed the win for the Keydets as he took a 6-1 decision over Michael Lopouchanski to put the Keydets up by a 24-12 tally. The Bulldogs would cut into the deficit in the final two bouts but could not overcome VMI despite a victory by fall over VMI heavyweight Jake Tomlinson in the final bout.
The Keydets face a quick turnaround as they compete in the All-Academy Championship all day Saturday in the same location at McAlister Field House. The opening round is slated for a 10 a.m. start.
VMI 24, The Citadel 21
125: Clifton Conway (VMI) tech fall William Jacobs (CIT), 18-2 (6:58)
133: Hunter Starner (VMI) maj. dec. Nicholas Long (CIT), 14-4
141: Douglas Gudenburr (CIT) dec. Dominic Gallo (VMI), 4-1
149: Tyler Buckiso (CIT) pinned Michael Hulcher (VMI), 5:30
157: Rian Burris (CIT) dec. Robert DuPont (VMI), 7-2
165: Blake Hohman (VMI) pinned Michael Mewhorter (CIT), 5:54
174: Gage Levine (VMI) pinned William Curtis (CIT), 6:06
184: Christopher Beck (VMI) dec. Michael Lopouchanski (CIT), 6-1
197: Sawyer Root (CIT) dec. Max Gallahan (VMI), 8-1
285: Michael McAleavey (CIT) pinned Jake Tomlinson (VMI), 5:31