Josh Demas and Jesse Dong have special memories from when they were teammates in the Westerville North High School wrestling program.

Josh Demas and Jesse Dong have special memories from when they were teammates in the Westerville North High School wrestling program.

The two wrestlers each won state titles at North and helped the Warriors make strong showings in numerous tournaments.

Demas and Dong, however, met for the first time as opponents when Ohio State played host to Virginia Tech on Nov. 20.

Dong, a senior captain for the Hokies, rallied for a 7-2 win over Demas at 157 pounds. Demas' Buckeyes, however, won the match 21-12 to improve to 4-0, while the Hokies fell to 1-1.

Ohio State, which leads the all-time series 12-1, is ranked 10th in the country and Virginia Tech is 15th.

For Dong, it was just another match in his pursuit of a national title in March.

"It's a big match because of the crowd and it's at home and we were teammates, but he's another body," said Dong, who improved his career collegiate record to 86-18. "It was just another match and I had to get through it to get where I need to be. It was a big match for everybody else, but it's just a body and I have to go out there and wrestle my best."

When Dong and Demas took the mat, Ohio State already had clinched the win, as it led 21-6.

Demas, a redshirt freshman, scored early on a takedown, but two escapes by Dong tied the match at 2 early in the second period.

Dong then took the lead for good with a takedown with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the second period. He added a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the match and received a point for riding time to cap the scoring.

Trailing 4-2 late in the third period, Demas tried to get a tying takedown, but Dong successfully defended his moves.

"He got that takedown at the end when I was trying to start something," Demas said. "If I would have gotten that takedown, it would have been 4-4. It would have been a tie and we would have gone into overtime, but I tried a little bit too much. I could have had three takedowns in the beginning, but I didn't capitalize on them and that was my fault."

Virginia Tech coach Kevin Dresser was not surprised by the outcome.

"Jesse has been through the mill in college," Dresser said. "He's battle-tested. We expect big things out of him."

Dong, who is ranked fifth nationally at 157, improved to 6-0 on the season. Demas, who is ranked 13th, dropped to 7-1.

"As much as you're trying to keep all that stuff out of it, it means a lot," Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said of the former Warriors competing. "They're former teammates. Probably at one point they were buddies. I'm hoping they still are. We knew it meant a lot to Josh and a lot to Jesse. They're both outstanding. We have to work on some things to get him next time. Jesse did a nice job."

Demas and Dong had little interaction prior to or following their match. With family and friends of both wrestlers looking on, the two briefly shook hands before beginning their match.

North coach David Grant expects the two to interact when they return to the team's wrestling room for training during the Christmas break.

"I feel like we were friends in the past, but being in the same weight class right now, it's hard to say," Demas said. "I guess we'll have to see at the end of the year."

Demas and Dong could meet again in the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 15-18 in St. Louis.

If they meet again, Demas is hoping for a different outcome.

"When it comes to practice, I'll get it done by March," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind, I will not only beat him, but I'll beat everybody. I know where I am and I know where they're at. I just have to make a couple adjustments and I feel I will be the best."

At North, Dong won a state title at 152 as a senior in 2008. Demas finished third at 145 as a sophomore that season, as the two helped the Warriors place third at state with 66 points, marking their highest finish in program history.

Demas won state titles at 152 in 2009 and 171 in 2010.

"It was very rewarding for our team to watch two former North wrestlers compete at the collegiate level," Grant said. "I was sad to see one of them leave the mat disappointed, but I know those two guys. They will both be back to work (Nov. 21) preparing for the next challenge ahead. As coaches, we were very proud to see them compete so well. It was very motivating to watch our collective time and hard work pay off."

Ohio State's roster also includes Dublin Scioto graduates Alex Gordon and Randy Languis, Olentangy graduate Joe Grandominico, Olentangy Liberty graduates Jarrod Boone and Craig Thomas and Thomas Worthington graduate Kosta Karageorge.