Nine Hokie Wrestlers Head To NCAA Championships

Andrew Carpenean-US PRESSWIRE

Tech is continuing it's success on the mat. Here's a look at the nine players going to the big dance as coach Kevin Dresser seeks his first national title.

It's safe to say it now. Virginia Tech is really good at wrestling. Not only did they win the ACC championship this year, but coach Dresser is sending nine guys to the NCAA championships, and there's a very good chance that Tech could come out on top. If you feel curious enough to tune in, one of the 500 ESPN channels usually shows every waking minute of the tournament.Here is a link to where you can find the schedule (Use Ctrl+F and search for wrestling to help you sift through it): http://web1.ncaa.org/NCAATV/exec/query The competition begins on Thursday and lasts through the weekend.

Let's look at the guys who will be sporting the orange and maroon in Oklahoma City.

Joey Dance

Joey Dance made it to the big dance as part of the 125 pound weight class. He is a freshman from Christiansburg, or as some know it: Kevin Dresser's wrestling empire. Dance was a four time state champion in high school, and was rated the number one wrestler in his weight class before choosing Tech. His record is 24-8 this season with a marquee win over #17 Nick Roberts (Ohio State). Dance placed third at the ACC championships.

Dennis Gustafson

Gustafson is a true freshman out of Forest Park high school in Woodbridge. He weighs in at 133 pounds and despite a 17-11 record, was good enough on the mat to finish 3-0 and be crowned ACC champion. He won a state title in his weight class last year.

Devin Carter

The 141 pound Junior has dominated all year long. Carter is a perfect 14-0 on the season, with wins over players ranked #8, #9, #11, and #17 in the country. He underwent leg surgery mid-season and missed a lot of playing time, but returned to capture an ACC title. The Christiansburg product has four state titles and three ACC titles to his name.

Zach Neibert

The 2013 NCAA All American weighs in at 149 pounds and went 22-7 this season, and 3-0 in the ACC championships to capture an ACC title. Coming out of Dayton, Ohio, Neibert originally signed with Northern Illinois but transferred to Tech after redshirting. He went 2-2 at the NCAA championships in 2012.

Chris Moon

The junior from Faquier County weighs 165 pounds and is 21-7 this season despite battling injuries. He went 3-1 in the ACC championships to capture third place. He went 0-2 in the NCAA championships in 2012. Moon is majoring in electrical engineering.

Austin Gabel

Weighing in at 174 pounds, the sophomore missed two months due to a knee injury this year. He finished the season at 13-7 and placed fourth at the ACC championships. A three time state champion in Colorado, he is a third generation of college wrestlers in his family.

Nick Vetterlein

A 184 pound senior from New Jersey. Vetterlein is 25-8 on the year and placed third in the ACC championships with a 3-1 mark. He has had a very successful career at Tech and hopes to finish it by going deep in the tournament.

Chris Penny

The 197 pound senior from Virginia Beach took home an ACC title after finishing the year at 24-11. He also went 15-7 in duals. His marquee win came over the #8 wrestler from Maryland.

Ty Walz

Walz is the incredible hulk of wrestling. A native of Ohio and redshirt freshman, he tips the scales at a whopping 285 pounds. He was also an All American in high school. Walz finished the season 25-12 and went 3-1 in the ACC Championships to earn third place.

Tech is maintaining their recent success after sending 10 players to the big dance last year, and it's all because of head coach Kevin Dresser. Since his arrival, the Hokies have exploded to the top of the wrestling world. Each year has been an improvement for the team, which went from finishing 60th in 2007 to 10th in the country a year ago. Dresser was ACC coach of the year and snagged the #2 recruiting class in the country in 2013. With an overall record of 94-41, Dresser is quite possibly the best hire that Jim Weaver ever made, and in the wake of the Tom Brands fiasco, quite fortuitous for a program that was almost driven into extinction by the catastrophe. It's only a matter of time before he claims his first national title. It could be this weekend.

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