Moving into the new year, the Virginia Tech Hokies wrestling team continues to turn heads. The preseason ranked No. 8 Hokies started the year off with a close, 13-17, loss against then No. 9 Ohio State before earning a commanding win over Gardner-Webb, 35-6. Earlier this month the Hokies soundly defeated then No. 16 Northern Iowa, 39-3. After the defeat of UNI came the Hokies’ best win of the season, thus far, when they won a close match against then No. 3 Missouri! Nathan Traxler, a graduate transfer, won ACC Wrestler of the Week honors when he upset the Tigers’ No. 13 Zach Elam to secure Virginia Tech’s comeback victory over Mizzou.
Approaching the Christmas holiday, Virginia Tech traveled to Niceville, Florida, and participated in the Journeyman Collegiate Wrestling Duals where they faced off against Hofstra and No. 6 Arizona State. The Hokies started their trip to the Sunshine State with another massive victory, overwhelming the Pride, 35-3. The Sun Devils showed out, featuring five wrestlers in the top ten of their weight class. Virginia Tech’s No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (174), No. 9 Hunter Bolen (184), and No. 14 Xander Traxler (285) all collected match wins, but the remainder of VT was unable to keep up with ASU’s respectable roster and lost, 13-23. The second day of the Journeyman Collegiate Wrestling Duals would present additional adversity as the Hokies would drop a closely contested match against then No. 11, now No. 8, Cornell, 15-18.
Virginia Tech welcomed the new year by traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee and participating in the Southern Scuffle. The Hokies did not send the entire team to the Scuffle. As attached wrestlers VT sent No. 14 Hunter Bolen (184), Andy Smith (197), Clayton Ulrey (165), and Brandon Wittenberg (133). Unattached, VT sent four redshirting wrestlers - Hunter Catka (285), Sam Fisher (174), Eddi Ventresca (125), and Cooper Flynn (125). Bolen finished third place in his weight class of 184 pounds and Andy Smith finished fifth in the 197-pound class. Unattached VT freshmen, Ventresca, also finished in the top ten, at eighth in 125 pounds.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are currently ranked No. 10 and will return to Cassell Coliseum this Sunday, 9 January, to host Binghamton and West Virginia! You can watch the matches on ACCNX!