A great week for Virginia Tech Wrestling was capped off with an impressive 21-15 win over #2 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The 11th-ranked Hokies have now defeated three consecutive ranked teams, including two top-ten teams, to start the 2019 season.
Coming on the heels of signing the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, it was a monumental week for Virginia Tech Wrestling.
“It was obviously a really exciting dual meet and that’s why you don’t determine outcomes on paper,” said Tony Robie, head coach. “I was really proud of the way our guys stayed in there and fought and battled and dealt with a hostile environment.”
The match started with a top-15 matchup at 133 pounds between #13 Collin Gerardi (VT) and #14 Quinn Kinner. Gerardi’s four-point near-fall was the crucial moment in his 7-1 decision over Kinner that gave the Hokies a 3-0 lead.
The next two matches included the Moore brothers for the Hokies. This was a homecoming for the brothers as they grew up just outside of Columbus in St. Paris.
Mitch Moore had been on a roll at the 141-pound spot in the first two dual meets of the season. After a pin in just 26 seconds against Missouri, Moore pinned Jack Tolin of Northwestern last Sunday during the Mat on the Mound event at English Field. However, the challenge was much tougher against the Buckeyes as he had to face #1 Luke Pletcher. Pletcher won 13-5 over Moore and gave Ohio State a 4-3 lead.
Although Mitch Moore didn’t have his best stuff today, his older brother came up huge for the Hokies. Brent Moore had struggled in the first two matches of the year, losing both of his matches which prompted criticism from Robie after the meet against Northwestern. Brent answered the call in Columbus, pinning #8 Sammy Sasso in just one minute and sixteen seconds.
The Hokies took the momentum from the pin and won three of the next four matchups including Cody Hughes’s first win of the season at 174 pounds. The only loss that Tech suffered came at 165 pounds where #14 Ethan Smith upset #4 Tech’s David McFadden, 5-4.
“If you would have told me that David McFadden was not going to get his hand raised and we were going to win the dual meet, I would have been really surprised,” Robie said.
Entering the 197-pound matchup, the Hokies led the meet 18-7. Then the Buckeyes started to prove why they are one of the best teams in the nation. At 197, #1 Kollin Moore earned a tech fall over Tech’s Stan Smeltzer, 24-9 and closed the gap to 18-12. In the heavyweight match-up, #11 Chase Singletary won a close 4-2 decision over Tech’s John Borst to make it 18-15. For the second straight dual meet, the Hokies would have to win the final match-up to win the match.
The meet finished with the 125-pound match with Joey Prata facing #20 Malik Heinselman. After a slow start, Prata finished the match with five unanswered points and upset Heinselman 5-2 to finish off the Hokies historic win.
“Our guys were excited to compete, and they were excited for this opportunity,” Robie said. “They went out and had opportunities to take it and they took it.”
Tech remained undefeated in the early portion of its season and will now take a month off from dual meets. The Hokies will compete in two tournaments including the Navy Classic in Annapolis, MD next weekend before returning home to face Chattanooga on Dec. 21 in Cassell Coliseum.