After starting the season with back-to-back dual losses, the Virginia Tech wrestling team has won three straight. The No. 13 Hokies defeated Chattanooga 35-4 on Friday afternoon during the first day of the Virginia Duals in Hampton.
The Hokies are competing in the 39th annual tournament, where they could face some of the best teams in the country. They started their weekend off with a dual against the Mocs, who recently hosted the Southern Scuffle at the beginning of the year.
The dual didn’t start out well for Tech. Redshirt sophomore Joey Prata fell behind early in the first period and ultimately lost by a 10-2 major decision against Alonzo Allen. With that match behind them, the Hokies were dominant the rest of the day.
Tech won the next nine matches to secure the victory over Chattanooga, the team’s biggest margin of victory so far this season. Tech wrestlers scored bonus points in three of their nine wins, scoring two falls and one tech fall.
After the 125-pound match to open the dual, Korbin Myers took on Jake Huffine. The No. 15 wrestler in the country returned to the Hokies’ lineup for the first time since the home dual against Princeton on Dec. 7. He had a triumphant return to the mat, earning a 6-1 decision for the Hokies' first win of the day.
Mitch Moore returned to the lineup as well, and ended up scoring Tech’s first bonus points of the dual. Moore won by fall in the first period over Chris Debien in the 141-pound match, taking just 1:32 to secure the win. The victory was Moore’s fifth pin in his last six matches for the Hokies.
Ryan Blees and B.C. LaPrade each won their matches, with LaPrade shutting out Ryan Resnick for a 4-0 victory.
Once the dual reached the heavier weight classes, Tech only got better. Mekhi Lewis, David McFadden, Zack Zavatsky, Tom Sleigh and Billy Miller, all ranked in their weight classes, dominated their opponents to put the match away for Tech.
Lewis needed just 3:18 to win by tech fall in his match against Trey Watson. The final score was 18-2, giving the redshirt freshman his sixth bonus point victory of the season.
After a 10-3 decision by McFadden, Zavatsky pinned Dominic Lampe in the third period, the second win by fall of his season and eighth of his career. Sleigh and Miller finished out the match with back-to-back decisions, with each allowing just two points or less in their matches.
With the win, the Hokies improve to 9-8 in the all-time series against Chattanooga and 20-22 all-time at the Virginia Duals. Tech will face Old Dominion tomorrow in day two of the tournament. The winner of that match will then face the winner of Arizona State vs. Virginia in the championship tomorrow night.
Tech’s dual against Old Dominion is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Fans can follow along on TrackWrestling.com for live updates.