Virginia Tech finished in the top 10 at the NCAA wrestling tournament amid a historic showing, but the final match for the Hokies was a heartbreaker.
Senior Jared Haught lost his 197-pound title match to NC State’s Michael Macchiavello 3-1 Saturday night in Cleveland.
The three-time All-American from Parkersburg, West Virginia clinched his spot in the finals by defeating Cornell’s Ben Darmstadt Friday night. His matchup in the final round against Macchiavello was the third meeting between the two this season. Haught won each of the first two matches, one at NC State and one in the ACC finals.
Neither wrestler could get anything going in the first period and the second period started with a score of 0-0. Haught started the second period on bottom and quickly escaped to take a 1-0 lead.
Haught took his lead into the third period, but Macchiavello escaped to tie the match. With just 11 seconds remaining in the match, Macchiavello scored a takedown to take a 3-1 lead and clinch the title.
The loss was a heartbreaking end to Haught’s senior season, but he had a tremendous four years in Blacksburg. Haught finishes his career as a two-time ACC Champion and a three-time All-American. He became only the second Virginia Tech wrestler to ever reach the NCAA finals, following Devin Carter in 2014.
Two other Hokies, David McFadden and Zack Zavatsky earned All-American honors as well.
McFadden placed fifth in the 165-pound weight class after defeating Jon Jay Chavez of Cornell. McFadden was able to get a spladle and pin Chavez in the third period to seal his spot on the podium, becoming a two-time All-American.
Zavatsky placed sixth in the 184-pound weight class, losing both his matches on Saturday morning. Zavatsky lost by an 11-6 decision to Taylor Venz of Nebraska. In the fifth place match, Zavatsky lost 8-2 to Michigan’s Domenic Abounader. Zavatsky’s sixth-place finish is his highest in his three NCAA tournament appearances.
Virginia Tech finished with a team score of 47.5, good for eighth in the tournament. The Hokies clinched their sixth straight top 10 finish.
Haught and 133-pounder Dennis Gustafson are the only two seniors graduating this offseaon. McFadden and Zavatsky lead group of talented young wrestlers that will return for the 2018-19 season for the Hokies.