Virginia Tech wrestling faces their toughest opponent so far this season in #24 Chattanooga at the Moss Arts Center. We’ll keep you updated right here throughout the afternoon.
125: Joey Dance showed why he was ranked third in the nation at 125 as Dance put on a master class performance in an 18-5 victory over Chattanooga’s Alonzo Allen to give Virginia Tech a 4-0 lead over #24 Chattanooga. Dance actually fell behind at the beginning, but Dance quickly took control of the match from there with multiple takedowns and nearfalls.
Dance continues to be one of the top wrestlers at 125 in the nation as the senior from Christiansburg looks like a definite national title contender once again.
133: Chattanooga’s Chris Debien beat Virginia Tech freshman Dominic Latona 10-5 to cut the Hokies’ lead to 4-3 after two matches. The young Latona is now 1-2 on the season but should be a guy that continues to improve as the season goes along and gains more experience.
141: Dennis Gustafson beats Chattanooga’s Roman Boylen 9-4 and is now 3-0 on the season while giving Virginia Tech a 7-3 lead. Gustafson had over 2 minutes of riding time and with his solid start, seems plenty worthy of making the jump into the top 20 at the 141 weight class. 141 was one of the questions for the Hokies but so far, Gustafson is stepping up his game and is looking good early in the season.
149: Solomon Chishko showed why he’s ranked sixth in the nation at 149 as he took care of business comfortably against Chattanooga’s Dylanger Potter 15-3 to extend the Hokies lead to 11-3. Chishko did not get taken down once and continues to build on his strong debut season last year for the Hokies while definitely being someone who could rise a spot at the 149 level depending on what happens to wrestlers above him.
157: Sal Mastriani made the jump from 149 to 157 before this season and is off to a great start with a technical fall win over Chattanooga’s Trey Watson to give VT a 16-3 lead. Mastriani is undefeated so far on the season and was absolutely dominant with the best performance from any wrestler so far for the Hokies. Mastriani is having a surge this season as a senior and could be a guy to watch that could also make a surge in the top 20 if he can continue to keep this up in the coming weeks.
The performances of Mastriani and Gustafson have to be encouraging for the Hokies so far given some on-paper concerns they had at the lower weight classes entering the season. With the second half of today’s match including four of the Hokies’ 6 ranked wrestlers, Virginia Tech may only lose one match to #24 Chattanooga.
The big match to watch is coming at the heavyweight weight at the end with #3 Ty Walz going against #11 Jared Johnson of Chattanooga.
165: Mike Ciavarro loses to Chattanooga’s Justin Lampe, cutting the Hokies’ lead to 16-6 and dropping his personal record to 1-2 on the season. 165 is definitely a weak point on this team currently and Virginia Tech will look to Ciavarro to improve or he may have some competition for his starting spot soon.
174: It was close for Zach Epperly early but Epperly gets a major decision win with a fury of takedowns in the third period to comfortably beat Chattanooga’s Sean Mappes. Epperly continues to be one of the favorites nationally to win the national title at 174 and should stay at #2 at the 174 rankings this week after his fury of third period takedowns.
184: Zack Zavatsky snuck out a 2-1 victory over Chattanooga’s Bryce Carr to give the Hokies a 23-6 lead. Zavatsky did not have his best day today and may drop down the rankings at 184 a few spots, but Zavatsky continues to be solid for the Hokies and undefeated on the season.
197: Jared Haught takes care of business and gives the Hokies a 26-6 lead after beating Chattanooga’s Clay Dent 6-1. Haught continues to be one of the top wrestlers at the 197 weight class and should be tested next weekend when the Hokies travel to Northern Iowa and Missouri.
HWT: In the fight of the day, Ty Walz proved he was the third ranked heavyweight in the country beating Chattanooga’s 11th-ranked Jared Johnson 14-7 to give the Hokies a 29-6 victory over #24 Chattanooga. Walz was quite good in this match after getting behind early as Walz got in rhythm and had multiple takedowns in the third period to finish the match.
Overall, the Hokies did exactly what they needed getting another strong win 29-6 over a solid Chattanooga team that was their first ranked opponent at 24th with two big road matches looming next week at Northern Iowa and Missouri, both of which are in the top 25 with Missouri being ranked 5th.