This past weekend the No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies faced multiple Top 15 opponents and came out on top.
On Saturday, the Hokies faced N.C. State for the ACC Duals crown. The Wolfpack featured multiple Top 25 wrestlers. N.C. State is ranked as the No. 8 team in the country, and represents the fifth Top 25 team and third Top 10 outfit the Hokies have had to face. The only ranked team that has managed to defeat the Fighting Gobblers is No. 5 Missouri.
At 125 lbs., No. 3 Joey Dance, continued his winning ways when he defeated No. 12 Sean Fausz. The Hokies suffered losses at 133 and 141 before No. 6, Solomon Chisko, defeated No. 8 Sam Speno. VT’s No. 15 Sal Mastriani and No. 5 Zach Epperly won at 157 and 174 respectively.
A Hokie Top Five, No. 4 Zack Zavatsky, was upset by N.C. State’s No. 11 Michael Macchiavello, 9-3. Fellow Top Five wrestlers, No. 3 Jared Haught (197) and No. 5 Ty Walz (heavy) both won their matches. In the end the Hokies won, 20-14.
Reported by Virginia Tech’s official sports website, hokiesports.com, this championship represents the 23rd ACC team title won by VPI since the Hokies joined the ACC. Defeating a Top 10 conference opponent is fantastic win for the Hokies. On top of that the Hokies avenged their loss to N.C. State during the 2016 ACC Championship Tournament.
The Hokies had little time to collect themselves before another Top 25 team came calling at Cassell Coliseum. The No. 16 South Dakota State Jackrabbits invaded the day after the No. 8 N.C. State Wolfpack fell to the Hokies. South Dakota State represents the sixth ranked opponent the Hokies have had to face this season.
At 125 lbs. No. 3, Joey Dance, did what he does and defeated his opponent soundly. South Dakota State’s No. 2 wrestler, at 133, Seth Gross, defeated VT’s Dennis Gustafson. Jackrabbit, Henry Pohlmeyer also did the same to VPI’s Brendan Ryan. At 149 lbs. Hokie, Solomon Chishko, defeated No. 16 Alex Kocer. Epperly also recorded a victory over a Top 25 opponent, No. 16 David Kocer. VT’s No. 4, Zack Zavatsky also won, as did No. 3 (197) Haught due to forfeit. Heavyweight, No. 5 Ty Walz, defeated Alex Macki. Tallying up the overall effort of the Virginia Tech Hokies found the Gobblers with a 29-15 victory over the Jackrabbits, and their fifth win over a ranked opponent.
The Hokies finished their regular season with a win over a ranked opponent. They completed their conference effort undefeated and finished the season 16-1. Next week they host No. 6 Nebraska for the NWCA National Duals before traveling to Raleigh, NC for the ACC Championship.
If there was any question that the Hokies would respond to their 2015-16 effort, it has been answered. Congratulations gentlemen!
This weekend the Hokies face their biggest test since the No. 5 Missouri Tigers when the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers visit the Cassell.