The Virginia Tech wrestling team has had a historic NCAA Championships so far, but it’s not done yet. Senior Jared Haught defeated Ben Darmstadt of Cornell in the semifinals Friday night to become the Hokies’ second finalist ever.
Virginia Tech had three wrestlers alive in the semifinals last night. Sophomore David McFadden was the first Hokie to take the mat, facing third-seeded Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State. Joseph is the defending national champion in the 165-pound weight class.
The match went into the second period scoreless, but Joseph took a lead thanks to a quick escape. Joseph scored a takedown at the end of the second period to take a 3-0 lead. McFadden quickly escaped at the beginning of the third period, but he was unable to score a takedown and Joseph won the match 3-1, giving McFadden his first loss of the season.
McFadden has already secured All-American honors by reaching the semifinals, and he will face Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven in the consolation semifinals.
Zack Zavatsky was the next wrestler up for Tech, facing Myles Martin of Ohio State in the 174-pound semifinals.
Zavatsky’s match also went into the second period scoreless, but he took a 1-0 lead with an escape in the second period. Martin took Zavatsky down, but ZZ escaped before the end of the second period to tie the match 2-2.
Martin started the second period on bottom and promptly escaped to take a 3-2 lead. He took Zavatsky down two more times in the period and won the match 8-4 with the riding time point.
Zavastky is a first-time All-American and will face Taylor Venz of Nebraska in the consolation semifinals.
Senior Jared Haught, the three-seed in the 197-pound weight class was the final wrestler of the night for Tech. Haught took on the second-seed in his weight class, Ben Darmstadt of Cornell, who was 33-1 on the season coming into the semifinals.
Again, the match was scoreless going into the second period. Haught scored a takedown in the second to take a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Haught let Darmstadt up at the beginning of the third period and the score was tied 2-2. With 1:31 left in the third, Darmstadt attempted a shot on Haught before the Hokies’ senior countered with a pancake and pinned his opponent to advance to the finals.
With his win, Haught joins Devin Carter as the only two Virginia Tech wrestlers to advance to a national championship match. He will face Michael Macchiavello of NC State in the finals. The two wrestlers have squared off twice this season, with Haught winning both matches.
Haught defeated Macchaivello 6-4 in the ACC finals in a match that took five tiebreaker periods. Saturday night’s finals match should be on every fan’s radar as the conference rivals face off for a third time this season. Haught’s match will also be the first time two ACC opponents have wrestled each other in a national championship match.
The Hokies currently sit at seventh in the team standings with 44.5 points. The finals will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on ESPN2.