It has been almost nothing but smooth sailing for Virginia Tech Wrestling to start the 2017-18 season under first-year coach Tony Robie. Currently sitting at 3-1 on the season and ranked 10th in the country, they've won two matches against top 25 opponents in Stanford and Central Michigan while losing a close match to 4th ranked Missouri.
Most recently, the Hokies picked up a win at the Theater in Madison Square Garden, defeating Princeton 26-12. Now, Virginia Tech looks to close out the 2017 part of the season strong as they welcome West Virginia.
The Mountaineers come to Cassell Coliseum on Friday holding a 1-2 record. They started the season off with a tough start, losing 24-9 to Utah State, and following that up with a 28-13 loss to 13th ranked Nebraska. However, West Virginia came away with a signature win over 25th ranked Pittsburgh, 24-10, in the Backyard Brawl rivalry match-up. Now, they'll look to build on that momentum as they battle Virginia Tech in a Black Diamond rivalry matchup.
For Tony Robie's squad, there were a lot of positives to take away from their recent win against Princeton.
Going into the season, one of the big questions surrounding this team was how they would replace All-Americans to graduation from a season ago. Against the Tigers, the five ranked starters all won their individual matches that contributed to the win. #7 Zach Zavatsky won 11-2, #3 Jared Haught won 2-0, #17 Andrew Dunn won 7-4, #14 Dennis Gustafson won 18-3, and #4 David McFadden won 20-5.
With so much hype surrounding Haught, Zavatsky, and McFadden entering the season; Gustafson and Dunn have been impressive to say the least starting this 2017-18 season. Hunter Bolen looked sharp in the 174 pound weight class, defeating Carlin Powell 6-0.
West Virginia had a few impressive individual wins against the 25th ranked Panthers. Zeke Moisey recorded his third pin of the season at the 125 pound weight class. Unranked Kyler Rea had a major decision at the 149 pound weight class, winning 18-3. Zachary Moore, wrestling in the 157 pound weight class, won 3-1 against #17 Taleb Rahmani in an upset victory. Freshman Nick Kiussis followed that up with an upset of his own in the 165 pound weight class, winning 8-3 against #16 Jake Wentzel.
#10 Virginia Tech vs. West Virgnia Matchups to Watch
165 lb: #4 David McFadden (VT) vs Nick Kiussis (WVU)
-David McFadden has been on a tear since coming back from injury a season ago and is in the top four in the nation for his weight class. Freshman Nick Kiussis won 8-3 over #16 Jake Wentzel of Pittsburgh in his last outing.
174 lb: Hunter Bolen (VT) vs Parker VonEgidy (WVU)
-Both wrestlers aren't ranked but are coming off of quality matches in their last outings. Bolen shutout his opponent from Princeton and VonEgidy won via a major decision against Pittsburgh.
197 lb: #3 Jared Haught (VT) vs #6 Jacob A. Smith (WVU)
-This will be the match-up of the day as two wrestlers in the top 10 of the 197 lb weight class go at it. There's a chance that the overall team score could come down to this weight class.
There should be a lot of great individual matchups tomorrow night. Both teams are looking to close out the 2017 part of the season with a big win. The match starts at 7:00 PM in Cassell Coliseum and will be streamed live on the ACC Network Extra.
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