Virginia Tech wrestling has had a strong start to the season, but the tenth-ranked Hokies faced their toughest challenge yet against #4 Missouri. The Hokies were up for the challenge but in the end, Missouri's experience and an incredible tech fall cost the Hokies.
#10 Virginia Tech came up short against #4 Missouri 22-12 in a dramatic dual meet that saw the Hokies make a late run only to have it come up short near the end. The Hokies showed that they are a top 10, but Missouri was the better team in this match due largely to their experience.
At 125, Kyle Norstrem put up a valiant effort, but experience proved critical as Missouri's Barlow McGhee picked up a 5-1 victory. Norstrem has a bright future ahead of him and as he gains more experience, he will only continue to get better. Norstrem is on the rise, but will be tested by an ACC full of talented 125 wrestlers this spring.
Virginia Tech had a nightmare scenario at 133 as Dennis Gustafson had his worst match of the season with a major decision loss to #9 John Erneste 11-2. While Gustafson wasn't the favorite to win, the major decision loss gave Missouri a valuable extra point when the Hokies' margin for error was minimal.
Brent Moore has shown promise early this season, and picked up a win tonight to get the Hokies on the board down 7-3. Moore was dominant throughout the match taking advantage of a big takedown in the first period and controlling the match from there.
However, the Hokies suffered a surprising upset as 6th-ranked Solomon Chishko lost to Missouri's 19th-ranked Grant Leeth 7-2. Chishko struggled to find any momentum in this match and though he came close to a couple takedowns, he wasn't able to get the job done. With the loss, Chishko is almost certain to take a significant drop in the rankings at 149 this week.
The match between Missouri's #2 Joey Lavallee and BC LaPrade at 157 was exciting early as came out firing with LaPrade nearly getting a takedown before Lavallee got the takedown. From there, Lavallee was in control for most of the rest of the match as his talent and experience shined though LaPrade didn't go down without a fight. LaPrade did a great job of preventing a major decision victory, holding Missouri to only 3 points to give them a 13-3 lead.
With Virginia Tech down 13-3, the margin for error was non-existent and David McFadden stepped up. McFadden got the job done with a 5-3 victory over Missouri's Connor Flynn to cut Missouri's lead to 13-6. McFadden didn't have a big margin of victory but there was no doubt that McFadden was in control of this match.
Hunter Bolen fought hard against #4 Daniel Lewis, but Lewis proved to be too much as Bolen came up short 3-0. Bolen, like many of VT's wrestlers, put in a great effort and made life more difficult than Missouri likely expected. Bolen has had a lot of close losses and seems like a guy that once he gets a couple of wins, he might be able to take off and become a top 20 wrestler.
Zack Zavatsky fought hard and came out aggressive knowing the Hokies likely needed a major decision from him. Though Zavatsky wrestled well and got the victory, Missouri's Canten Marriott played great enough defense and got a late takedown to hold Zavatsky to a 13-8 victory. Zavatsky remains one of the top wrestlers at 184, but Marriott's defense was too much for him to pick up a major decision.
The big matchup that everyone had circled came at 197 between Virginia Tech's second-ranked Jared Haught and Missouri's third-ranked Willie Miklus.
Jared Haguht dominated the match and led 7-2 with less than 30 seconds left in the third period. However, Willie Miklus pulled off a tremendous finish on Haught to get a tech fall that gave Missouri the win and five points, ending the Hokies' hopes of a comeback. Haught was the better wrestler, but Miklus pulled off an incredible move that stunned the Moss Arts Center crowd.
Andrew Dunn has had some solid matches, and wrestled well today picking up a 3-1 win over Missouri's Ausitn Myers thanks to a late takedown. Dunn has shown plenty of talent to this point and is starting to put together some wins here in the past couple of weeks.
Virginia Tech's wrestlers weren't afraid of the step up in competition with Brent Moore pulling off the biggest win of his career. However, Missouri's experience proved to be too much for young guys like Kyle Norstrem, BC LaPrade, and Hunter Bolen; but all four of these guys showed the future is bright for Virginia Tech wrestling.
Zack Zavatsky and David McFadden both have great wins while Jared Haught had a great performance, but a heartbreaking finish that wasn't at all indicative of his performance. However, that combined with a major decision loss for Dennis Gustafson and an upset loss for Solomon Chishko proved to be too much.
Virginia Tech wrestling fans may be disappointed, but the future is bright for a team full of young talent and some very good stars like Haught, McFadden, and Zavatsky.
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