12th-ranked Virginia Tech Wrestling won its sixth and seventh straight dual meets last weekend, beating No. 13 Pittsburgh 27-6 on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum, then beating No. 24 Lehigh 23-9 less than 48 hours later in Bethlehem, PA on Sunday.
After an 0-2 start in dual meets this season against No. 7 Missouri (L, 21-8) and No. 25 Northwestern (L, 20-16), the Hokies have now won seven dual meets in a row. It started with a 24-16 win over Princeton on Dec. 7, and in their last six wins, no opposing team has scored more than nine points against Virginia Tech:
- 19: Def. WVU 24-9
- 11: Def. Chattanooga 35-4
- 12: Def. ODU 31-9
- 12: Def. Virginia 37-5
- 25: Def. No. 13 Pitt 27-6
- 27: Def. No. 24 Lehigh 23-9
- Average score: 29-7
Note: the win over UVA was at the Virginia Duals, and did not count as an ACC match.
As the ACC dual meet schedule picks up heading into February, it looks like a two-horse race between Virginia Tech and NC State. Here are Intermat’s dual meet rankings for ACC squads after last weekend’s action.
- 9: NC State
- 12: Virginia Tech
- 14: Pittsburgh
- 19: UNC
- 21: Virginia
Wrestling is all about the individual matchups across the ten different weight classes, but if you look at the team rankings, Virginia Tech’s dominant win over Pittsburgh, as well as the 37-5 thrashing of Virginia during the Virginia Duals a couple weeks back, there doesn’t appear to be anyone standing in the way of the Hokies and Wolfpack from settling the ACC dual meet championship when they face off on Feb. 22 in Blacksburg.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here’s a look at the Hokies’ remaining schedule. Virginia Tech has wrestled in Blacksburg only twice all year, and their next two duals are on the road as well. But after that, the Hokies will wrestle in Blacksburg (Cassell Coliseum and the Moss Arts Center) for the rest of the season, including the ACC Championship at season’s end.
- Fri, Feb. 1: @ Duke
- Fri, Feb. 8: @ No. 19 UNC
- Fri, Feb. 15: No. 10 Cornell, Cassell Coliseum
- Sat, Feb. 16: No. 21 Virginia, Moss Arts Center
- Fri, Feb. 22: No. 8 NC State, Cassell Coliseum
- Sat, Mar. 9: ACC Championships, Cassell Coliseum
The matchup with No. 10 Cornell on Feb. 15 is interesting, but of course, the high-profile meets are the Virginia matchup in the Moss Arts Center, the regular season-ending dual meet with ACC favorite NC State, and the all-day ACC Championship (tournament format, all six teams) in Blacksburg on March 9.
For the Feb. 16 Virginia meet at the Moss Arts Center, there are about 200 tickets remaining. Wrestling at Moss is a unique event, and tickets are only $10. The meet is on a Saturday night, so fans from out of the area can make it, and tickets can be purchased here. (TechSideline.com has four tickets in the front row of the balcony for that evening.)
The meet where Virginia Tech fans really have a chance to make a statement and a difference is the NC State dual meet on February 22. Looking through recaps for this year and last year, the biggest listed crowd in Cassell is 3,187 for last Friday’s meet against Pittsburgh. With the ACC dual meet title likely on the line against the Wolfpack, a crowd of 5,000 or more would make Cassell a pit.
When we interviewed Virginia Tech wrestling head coach Tony Robie for our TSL Podcast a few weeks back, Robie said that he thought the largest crowd he’d seen for wrestling in Cassell was “about 5,000 fans” back in November of 2015 against Penn State. A Roanoke Times article reporting on Penn State’s 21-15 win verified that recollection, citing “a program-record crowd of 5,097 fans”.
Putting it out there now: @HokiesWrestling's program-record crowd in Cassell Coliseum is 5,097 vs. Penn State back on Nov. 15, 2015.
NC State visits Blacksburg on Feb. 22nd for a meet that should decide the ACC Dual Meet Championship this year.
Mark your calendar and be there. pic.twitter.com/NGYKkQX734
— TechSideline.com (@TechSideline) January 29, 2019
By contrast, NC State defeated Virginia Tech in Raleigh in a dual meet last February to capture last year’s ACC dual meet championship, and only 1,394 fans attended.
Note: the dual meets in Cassell are free to attend.
Looking down the road even further, the ACC Championship (Saturday, March 9, Cassell Coliseum) tickets are $10 per person, general admission.
Virginia Tech Wrestling vs. Duke Preview
The Hokies wrestle at Duke this Friday, as noted above, and Virginia Tech should handle the Blue Devils. Duke is the only school in the ACC (out of six) that isn’t ranked in the dual meet rankings, and they’re the only ACC squad with a losing record overall. Virginia Tech wrestling is undefeated against Duke (14-0) since entering the ACC in 2004-05, though it should be noted that three of the last four meetings have been fairly competitive:
- 2004-05: W, 25-11
- 2005-06: W, 21-18
- 2006-07: W, 28-12
- 2007-08: W, 22-18
- 2008-09: W, 28-15
- 2009-10: W, 27-20
- 2010-11: W, 39-3
- 2011-12: W, 30-6
- 2012-13: W, 41-0
- 2013-14: W, 33-4
- 2014-15: W, 22-15
- 2015-16: W, 31-9
- 2016-17: W, 26-13
- 2017-18: W, 24-19
Looking through Intermat’s rankings by weight class, Duke only has two wrestlers ranked in the top 20 of their weight class, Mitch Finesilver (No. 6 at 149) and Matt Finesilver (No. 17 at 174). (FYI, Duke has two sets of twins wrestling for them: two Finesilver brothers who are sophomores and two more who are redshirt seniors. That’s a lot of Finesilvers.)
Meanwhile, the Hokies have six top-20 wrestlers, including four in the top 10:
- 133: No. 12 Korbin Myers
- 165: No. 8 Mekhi Lewis
- 174: No. 7 David McFadden
- 184: No. 7 Zack Zavatsky
- 197: No. 7 Tom Sleigh
- Heavyweight: No. 18 Billy Miller
For what it’s worth, the dual meet predictor at WrestleMatch.com predicts the Hokies winning 30-3, but you can see from the scores above that Duke often wrestles Virginia Tech tough.
The Duke/VT meet can be seen on WatchESPN at this link.