Over the next few weeks we'll count down the Top 10 moments in Virginia Tech sports in the 2010-11 sports season. Only one moment per sport is eligible for the countdown, otherwise this would just be seven or eight football moments and then it might as well have just been the football Top 10 and done in January. And since I was too lazy to do that and there isn't anything going on during the summer we're doing this. Hope you enjoy.
No. 4 - Men's Track and Field Finishes Fifth
No. 5 - Women's Soccer Beats B2B Top 10 Teams
No. 6 - Volleyball Makes 1st NCAA Tournament
No. 7 - Baseball's Rash Leads ACC in Homers
No. 8 - Women's Lacrosse Holds on for Upset
No. 9 - Men's Tennis Beats No. 20 Louisville
No. 10 - Softball Wins at Florida State
At this point, the story of the Virginia Tech wrestling program's phoenix-like rise has been well-documented. After the 2005-06 season, head coach Tom Brands left for Iowa and took with him the bulk of a recruiting class that was supposed to help the Hokies become a powerhouse in the sport. Instead, the administration was left with the remnants of a program in disarray and contemplated ending the program.
Enter Kevin Dressler.
Dressler went from being the head coach at Christiansburg High School to the head coach at a D1 school in the ACC and hardly blinked. Five years later, he had the Hokies among the best wrestling programs in the country and took them on a magical ride through the national duals tournament.
The Hokies went into the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals at 8-2 with losses to No. 25 Iowa State and No. 4 Wisconsin. Once at the National Duals on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Hokies were able to knock off No. 17 Central Michigan, No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Wisconsin before finally falling to No. 1 Cornell in the final.
During the tournament, Jesse Dong went 4-0 at 157 pounds and earned ACC wrestler of the week honors. At 125 pounds, Jarrod Garnett won his match in the first three duals to help the Hokies advance to the final.
In the end, the Hokies turned out to be a much better duals team than tournament team. The Hokies went 20-4 in duals during the regular season, including 5-0 against the ACC. However, they finished second at the ACC tournament and a disappointing 33rd at the NCAA tournament.
Despite the anticlimactic end to the season, the ground work is in place for the Hokies to have a successful wrestling program for years to come, a short five years after it was nearly dissolved.