3 Virginia Tech Wrestlers Advance to the NCAA Semifinals for First Time in Program History

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Mar 16, 2018
The Virginia Tech Hokies ended the first day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships with their top 3 wrestlers reaching the quarterfinals and five others still being alive in the consolation portion of the bracket. Today's opening session provided for some more drama with the Hokies making some history. https://twitter.com/jrobIHS/status/974712130757910533 For the first time in school history, Virginia Tech will have three wrestlers in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships in David McFadden, Zack Zavatsky, and Jared Haught. With their victories, this trio of wrestlers earned All-American honors. However, those are the only three wrestlers who will receive All-American honors. VT's five other wrestlers, all of whom were in the consolation bracket, lost their matches including #9 Dennis Gustafson (133) and #12 Ryan Blees (149). The loss for Gustafson was a disappointing end to what was a very good VT career for him that included winning the ACC title at 133 this season. The three quarterfinal victories pushed the Hokies up the team standings from being tied for ninth to seventh overall with 35.5 points, four back of sixth-placed Missouri. The Hokies had a rough start to the session losing four consolation matches to start the day including a hotly contested match at 141 between Brent Moore and Illinois's 11th-seeded Mike Carr. However, the Hokies' day got a lot better once their top three wrestlers took the mat. David McFadden opened it up for the Hokies with a dominant 3-0 victory over Wisconsin's #10 Evan Wick. The second-seeded McFadden continued his perfect season and will face third-seeded Vincenzo Joseph from Penn State in his semifinal tonight. These two wrestlers have not faced each other this season. Zack Zavatsky pulled off an upset for the Hokies as the sixth-seeded Zavatsky upset Lehigh's third-seeded Ryan Preisch via a sudden victory, avenging a loss from earlier this season. https://twitter.com/ncaawrestling/status/974698368516722689 Zavatsky will be an underdog tonight against Ohio State's second-seeded Myles Martin, but will have a chance to make a big impact on the team battle between Ohio State and Penn State if he can pull off the upset. Senior Jared Haught got some revenge this afternoon beating Missouri's sixth-seeded Willie Miklus 3-1 to advance to the semifinals where he will face Cornell's second-seeded freshman Ben Darmstadt. However, Haught is arguably the favorite after Ohio State's top seed Kollin Moore was upset by unseeded Kent State wrestler Kyle Conel. If Haught can beat Darmstadt, we'll likely have an ACC Championship rematch between Haught and NC State' Mike Macchiavello. Of course, Kyle Conel has a Cinderella run going in Cleveland and shouldn't be taken lightly. Virginia Tech may only have three wrestlers left, but all three have are in the semifinals in what has become a historic NCAA Championships for the Hokies.

Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

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