The No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies displayed a dominant performance in Columbia on Saturday by taking down two Top 20 opponents in No. 17 Northern Iowa, 39-3, and No. 3 Missouri, 18-16.
After having a break during the Thanksgiving weekend, Tony Robie’s team was looking to deliver some statement results after going 1-1 in Blacksburg two weekends ago.
The man who secured the perfect day for the Hokies was no other than No. 14 Nathan Traxler, who got to experience two different styles in both of his bouts.
In his first match, the heavyweight class wrestler took the mat in what was already a secured victory for the Hokies over the Panthers. But Traxler battled back from a rough start to take the 4-3 decision over Northern Iowa’s Tyrell Gordon, thanks to his takedown in the second round.
The feeling was completely different for Traxler later in the day when he hit the mat against the No. 13 ranked Zach Elam from the Tigers.
Needing a victory to secure the match in the Hokies’ favor, the redshirt senior got to the legs of Elam multiple times before he went into sudden victory. To top it all off, Traxler recorded a takedown to end the match and give Virginia Tech an upset dual victory over Missouri.
Traxler's success over the weekend including his clutch win in sudden victory earned his ACC Wrestler of the Week honors.
Korbin Myers and Mekhi Lewis, both ranked No. 4 respectively in their weight division, had perfect days on the mat for the Hokies.
Myers took a tightly contested bout against the Panthers’ Kyle Biscoglia with a 6-4 sudden victory result; even though it was a slow match, the grad student was able to put the contest to a quick end with a double.
In his bout against Missouri’s No. 27 Trey Crawford, Myers was a mere seconds away from receiving a major decision, but was still able to swiftly move his way to a 8-2 result. The 2021 All-American now moves closer to the century win mark as he sits at 98 victories.
Lewis’ day started off with a commanding result against Pat Schoendelder of the Panthers, earning a pin at the 1:31 mark. It wasn’t easier for the redshirt junior in his Top 10 bout against the Tigers’ No. 10 ranked Peyton Mocco.
As Lewis jumped up to an early lead, he forced sudden victory. But before the ride-outs, Mocco was crawling back into the bout, raising the intensity of the match. The former National Champion was able to make a solid recovery and hit the reversal and picked up a nearfall to pull away with a 9-6 result. With the victory, Lewis now has two ranked wins in the 174 division on the season showing why he's a threat to win a national title at his new weight class.
It was also a successful Saturday for some of the top ranked Hokie wrestlers as No. 7 Bryce Andonian and No. 9 Hunter Bolen went a perfect 2-0 in the afternoon.
Not much time was needed in Andonian’s first bout of the night as he delivered a high amplitude throw and secured the fall at the 0:39 mark over Northern Iowa’s Collin Realbuto.
The junior didn’t have the most comfortable start to his second duel of the day as Missouri’s No. 19 Josh Edmond took an early lead in the 149 weight class. But Andonian made an excellent recovery by countering Edmond’s double for a takedown and backs then used a ride-out in the third to get a 10-4 victory.
Bolen also secured a comfortable decision in his first bout of the afternoon, by pinning Panthers’ Dajun Johnson at the 1:50 mark.
Just like many other Hokies, the competition was more fierce in the second bout and Bolen was trailing in the opening minutes but took control later on with two takedowns and a strong ride-out in the third to defeat the Tigers’ No. 10 ranked Jeremiah Kent, 6-3.
On the day, there were plenty of upsets that changed the course of the results, and fortunately for the Hokies, they were able to take down some top ranked opponents.
No. 24 Connor Brady provided the Hokies with a stunning result against the Tigers’ No. 11 ranked Jarrett Jacques in a 3-2 decision victory. The 157 weight class wrestler stayed aggressive through the entire bout and provided solid defense in the closing seconds to complete the upset as he continues to show signs of breaking out this season.
That wasn’t the only 3-2 decision that favored the redshirt sophomore with his first bout in the day against the Panthers’ Cayd Lara where he recorded a takedown and escape to squeeze up his opponent.
Collin Gerardi also gave the Hokies a huge result in their first match against the Panthers as the redshirt junior recorded a 3-2 decision over No. 29 ranked Cael Happel to help Virginia Tech ease to a sound victory over Northern Iowa.
The 141 weight class wrestler could not follow up his success in the first bout as he suffered a 3-1 sudden victory defeat to the Tigers’ No. 12 ranked Allan Hart.
What may have come as the biggest surprise of the afternoon was the performance of Hokies’ 125 weight class wrestler Sam Latona.
The No. 12 ranked wrestler faced two Top 20 wrestlers on the day and it got started with a close bout against the Panthers’ No. 11 ranked Brody Teske which ended in a 7-4 result. Looking to bounce back, the No. 18 ranked wrestler in Norton Surtin of Missouri put Latona at a fall in the 2:38 mark. The redshirt sophomore now sits 3-4 on the young season.
The two results give the Hokies a 3-1 record in dual meets during the 2021-22 season and now have won three straight contests following a 17-13 defeat to Ohio State back on Nov. 19.
Up next for dual meets, the Hokies will have the holiday season off before they host West Virginia and Binghamton at Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 9. 2022. In the meantime though, they will be completing in multiple different tournaments across the country.