Virginia Tech Wrestling has had a strong start to the 2022 ACC Wrestling Championships with five Hokies reaching the finals out of Tech's 10 wrestlers.
The biggest star has been Mekhi Lewis for the Hokies after Lewis was somehow seeded third with NC State's Hayden Hidlay being second and UNC's Clay Lautt surprisingly being the #1 seed.
Lewis wrestled like a man on a mission with a whole lot to prove after that wrongful ranking with Lewis opening with a 16-4 major decision over Pittsburgh's 6 seed Hunter Kernan.
That set up the matchup between the 2 wrestlers who should've been the top 2 seeds in Lewis and the 2 seed Hidlay while giving Lewis a chance to get revenge early on. Lewis stepped up big with a 3-2 decision victory with a takedown in the first period making the difference getting revenge while helping Tech's chances at trying to beat N.C. State for the ACC team title.
He will get his shot at UNC's Clay Lautt in the finals and despite the seeding, Lewis should be considered the favorite.
Lewis was the only one of the five Hokie wrestlers who didn't have a bye who reached the final. Meanwhile, Tech's four wrestlers who did have byes did rise to the occasion.
Sam Latona was the first Hokie to reach the final as Tech's 1 seed at 125 with a dominant 16-5 major decision victory over UVA's Patrick McCormick. Latona has shown signs of rounding into form with this being the strongest indication of that to date. Latona will face N.C. State's Jakob Camacho as their rivalry adds another high stakes chapter.
Korbin Myers, the 1 seed at 133, built on that with a comfortable 6-2 victory over Kai Orine of N.C. State to cruise into the ACC finals. Myers will be the favorite tonight at 133 when he takes on Pittsburgh's Micky Phillippi as Myers looks to end his ACC career with a title.
At 149, Bryce Andonian took care of business against Duke's Josh Finesilver as Andonian put on a show with a 25-5 technical fall victory. Andonian was once again in top form with his win setting the stage for a rematch with N.C. State's Tariq Wilson and a chance to avenge his previous loss to Wilson.
Nathan Traxler was the third 1 seed for the Hokies and like the other 2, he also won his semifinal to advance to the final. However, Traxler did so in way more dramatic fashion with a takedown in sudden victory to beat UVA's Quinn Miller and avenge his previous loss to him. Traxler will face N.C. State's Tyrie Houghton in a match that has the potential to decide the ACC team title.
Hunter Bolen was the biggest name Hokie to miss the finals after he won his opening round match against 6 seed Vincent Baker of Duke by a 16-3 major decision to give Tech a bonus point. However, he lost a heartbreaker in wrestlebacks to UNC's 2 seed Gavin Kane sending Bolen into the consolations.
At 141, 4 seed Collin Gerardi opened with a tight 1-0 victory over UVA's Dylan Cedeno before losing a close one 2-0 to Pittsburgh's 1 seed Cole Matthews. At 165, 4 seed Clayton Ulrey opened with a 6-4 victory over UNC's Sonny Santiago before suffering a 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh's Jake Wentzel.
At 157, 6 seed Connor Brady lost his opening match to N.C. State's 3 seed Ed Scott 5-2 while at 197, 5 seed Dakota Howard lost his opening round match to UNC's Max Shaw after a video review ruled that Shaw did have 1 minute of riding time.
The finals are tonight at 7pm on the ACC Network with wrestlebacks starting at 3:30pm as Tech's other 5 wrestlers look to claim the remaining NCAA Championship auto bids.