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Wrestling Defeats VMI in Lexington

by | Feb 17, 2024

Wildcat Bryce Sanderlin


LEXINGTON, Va. – Senior Bryce Sanderlin secured an 18-3 tech fall win in the final bout Friday night to give the Davidson wrestling team its first dual victory since Dec. 16.

The match was tied 19-19 going into the 165-pound match, and Sanderlin’s decisive win put the ‘Cats back in the win column.

Davidson looked sharp early on despite dropping the 174-pound bout in a tight 2-0 decision. From there, freshman Wyatt Ferguson made quick work of his opponent with an early second-period pin to put the ‘Cats in front, 6-3.

Seniors Cameo Blankenship and Jake Fernicola followed that up with victories as Blankenship gutted out a 4-1 overtime win by securing a takedown midway through the first extra period. Fernicola was able to get his hand raised behind seven first-period points to earn the 11-9 win. Davidson led 12-3.

VMI clapped right back with a major decision win at 125 and a pin at 133 to go back in front, 13-12.

Even though the dual came down to the final bout, the match of the night for the Wildcats was at 141-pounds. Junior Joshua Viarengo shocked VMI’s Patrick Jordon in an impressive 11-8 victory. Jordon was tied for the team lead in wins with an 18-8 overall record, and 10 of those came in dual action. He was also ranked 31st in the NCAA RPI Rankings. Viarengo secured the upset with a late takedown in the final minute to put the ‘Cats back ahead 15-13.

“I am so proud of Josh,” said Davidson coach Nate Carr Jr. “He wrestled to the very end and found away to win in a big-time match.”

Things took a turn, though, as VMI’s Ryan Vigil stunned freshman Tyler-Xavier McKnight by pinning him in the final minute of the 149-pound bout. This gave the home team a 19-15 advantage with two bouts to go.

Carr’s strategy of choosing to start at 174 pounds after winning the pre-match coin toss paid off.

Sophomore Tanner Peake tied things up with a dominating 12-4 major decision to leave it all to senior Bryce Sanderlin at 165 pounds.

The Chesapeake, Va., native never wavered and handled business with a wire-to-wire tech fall of Tyler Berish 18-3.

“I am really proud of the way the team responded after last night,” said Carr. “It was a great win for our program.”

The win avenged a 39-3 loss to VMI last season and was the program’s third win over the Keydets all-time. 

Up Next
The Wildcats will conclude their regular season dual slate next Friday night when they host Queens and Presbyterian in Belk Arena for senior night. They will take on Queens at 5 p.m. with the match against Presbyterian set to start shortly after.

Final Results
Davidson 24, VMI 19
174 – Braxton Lewis def. Marc Koch, dec. 2-0
184 – Wyatt Ferguson def. Caleb Chandler, fall 2:25
197 – Cameo Blankenship def. Josh Evans, SV-1 4-1
HWT – Jake Fernicola def. Tyler Mousaw, dec. 11-9
125 – Anthony Burke def. Enis Ljikovic, MD 9-0
133 – Dyson Dunham def. Hale Robinson, fall 1:05
141 – Joshua Viarengo def. Patrick Jordon, dec. 11-8
149 – Ryan Vigil def. Tyler-Xavier McKnight, fall 6:10
157 – Tanner Peake def. Josh Yost, MD 12-4
165 – Bryce Sanderlin def. Tyler Berish, TF 18-3

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