Three commonwealth teams competed for the Virginia Duals championship in Hampton on Saturday. Virginia Tech, Virginia and Old Dominion were all in the semifinals of the tournament, where the Hokies emerged as the best team in the state.
Virginia Tech dominated ODU and UVA to claim the program’s fourth Virginia Duals National College Division championship.
After defeating Chattanooga 35-4 on Friday, the Hokies were set to face off against the Monarchs on Saturday afternoon. They continued their strong weekend with a 31-9 win over ODU, picking up three bonus point victories in the dual.
The match started off with a fall in the 125-pound weight class as Michael McGee pinned Kyle Norstrem in the third period. Korbin Myers got the Hokies on the board with a 14-5 major decision at 133 pounds. After Mitch Moore lost a 3-2 decision at 141 pounds, the Hokies won the final seven matches of the dual, beginning with Ryan Blees’ 8-3 decision in the 149-pound weight class.
The Hokies really started gaining momentum when B.C. LaPrade picked up an upset victory over No. 6 Larry Early. From that point on, the upper weights were dominant for the No. 13 team in the country.
Mekhi Lewis picked up a major decision over ODU’s Luke Drugac while Zack Zavatsky won by tech fall over Dean Drugac to give the Hokies bonus points towards the end of the match. An 8-2 decision by Billy Miller over Ali Wahab would seal the deal and send the Hokies to their sixth finals appearance at the Virginia Duals.
The final dual between the ACC rivals was only the third time that two Virginia schools have competed in the finals of the tournament. The other two instances were also Tech and UVA, in both 2013 and 2015. After tonight’s match, Tech has won all three finals meetings.
UVA started off strong with a 21-6 tech fall at 125 pounds, but that would be the only match to go in the Cavs’ favor as Tech won the next nine in a row. Tech earned six bonus point victories, including two falls, two tech falls and two major decisions to win the dual 37-5.
Mitch Moore and B.C. LaPrade each pinned their opponents, with LaPrade getting it done just 43 seconds into the match. Moore’s pin over No. 16 Sam Krivus was his eighth fall of the season.
Lewis and McFadden started the upper weight classes off strong. Lewis picked up a 6-2 decision before McFadden won by tech fall, 18-1. Zavatsky and Miller each picked up major decisions to end the night for the Hokies. Zavatsky’s win was his ninth bonus point victory of the season while Miller scored eight points in the third period to win 12-3.
The win is Tech’s fifth-straight dual win after starting the season 0-2. Throughout their three duals this weekend, the Hokies lost just four individual bouts, all in lower weight classes. While Tech was not able to win a match at 125 pounds in the tournament, the team’s upper weight classes were dominant. All six of the Hokies’ ranked wrestlers went 3-0 this weekend as the team rolled to three consecutive victories and a dual championship against some of the best teams in the country.
Lewis and Zavatsky had particularly impressive weekends as each of their wins earned bonus points. Lewis earned two tech falls and one major decision while Zavatsky picked up a fall, tech fall and major decision.
Tech is now 5-2 on the season as ACC competition begins to heat up in the next few weeks. The Hokies have a couple of weeks off before returning to Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 25 to host Pitt.
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
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