No. 9 Virginia Tech Wrestling Flexes Depth In Win vs. No. 7 Missouri

Clayton Ulrey had the win of the afternoon for No. 9 Virginia Tech against No. 7 Missouri. (Ivan Morozov)

Following two wins in a row from Missouri wrestlers to shrink the Virginia Tech lead to 7-6, Clayton Ulrey needed to stop the bleeding for the Hokies against Logan Gioffre.

Ulrey, who filled in for the injured No. 5 Bryce Andonian at 157 pounds, performed a sit out and spun out of the arms of Gioffre 23 seconds into the third period. Despite several good shots from Gioffre, the Pennsylvania native quickly thwarted every attack to hold on for the decision victory, which proved to be a crucial win in No. 9 Virginia Tech’s upset win over No. 7 Missouri, 17-15.

“Clayton Ulrey stepped up and got a win for us,” head coach Tony Robie said following the match in Cassell Coliseum. “[He] was gritty at the end there and he really had to work hard to get his hand raised in a tough situation.

“That’s probably what [the match] came down to. That was the one match where it was highly contested.”

Ulrey’s win pushed VT’s lead to 10-6 halfway through the match and Missouri still had four wrestlers ranked in the top 11 of their respective weight classes left to scrap. The point cushion allowed Tech to hold on despite losing three of the final five bouts.

“Honestly, just my mindset,” Ulrey said about his ability to hold on for the win. “I’ve been working on that a lot. I’ve been struggling, took some losses earlier in the season and just been working on that. Keeping a sharp mind is really the main thing, the difference between him scoring on me or me fighting him off. I just feel like just working on that in the [practice] room really paid off there at the end when I was able to field off the takedown.”

Cooper Flynn made an uncommon appearance at 125 for Virginia Tech but picked up a win against the Tigers. (Ivan Morozov)

Along with Ulrey, Cooper Flynn made an uncommon appearance in the starting lineup at 125 pounds on Sunday. But he took down Missouri’s Peyton Moore in a major decision win, 13-3.

The redshirt freshman racked up five takedowns against Moore for his first collegiate dual victory, crediting the coaching staff and high level of conditioning in practice for his success.

“We’ve got, in my opinion, the best coaches, best training partners in the country,” Flynn said. “I truly don’t think that there’s a better place, for especially lightweight, to be, especially for my growth and personal experience here.

“From my personal feelings, we’re the hardest workers in the country. I really don’t believe that anybody’s in better shape, any better technique. It makes it easy to believe in when you have coaches that believe in you and you’re getting the training that you think you need.”

Flynn’s major decision victory put bonus points on the board for Virginia Tech, ultimately making the difference in the end.

No. 8 Hunter Bolen also snagged a bonus-point win to help push VT over the top, taking down Missouri’s No. 23 Sean Harman at 184 pounds, 13-3.

Bolen began the third period on bottom and was able to score on an escape in less than ten seconds. He followed it up with two more takedowns in the period to secure a bonus point for the Hokies.

Hunter Bolen snagged a big win for the Hokies at 184 on Sunday. (Ivan Morozov)

The two-time All-American overwhelmed Harman with the number of shots he took — something that VT’s coaching staff has put an emphasis on all season.

“From an offensive standpoint, we were pretty aggressive in the majority of the matches,” Robie said. “I was pleased [with] that. I thought we were pretty aggressive in the majority of the matches. … That style of wrestling wins at the end of the year and at the NCAA tournament, so we’re going to keep emphasizing that.”

No. 3 Mekhi Lewis took down Missouri’s No. 11 Peyton Mocco for the second year in a row in an NCAA tournament-level matchup on Sunday, 3-2.

It took less than 90 seconds for the former national champion to take the lead via takedown, nearly adding another in the second period before officials reversed their original call. For a match that was eventually decided by a single point, the reversed call could’ve had a huge impact on the outcome of the 174-pound bout. 

“It does piss me off,” Lewis chuckled when asked if the reversed call discouraged him at all. “Working hard for that takedown and not getting it — I still believe it was a takedown. I want to see it again. It just motivates me to go after and get more [takedowns]. But also, how the match was going, I still had to be smart and wrestle smart because I didn’t want to give up a takedown [from] attacking too much.”

Mekhi Lewis won on Sunday, but the national champ isn’t satisfied. (Ivan Morozov)

True freshman No. 12 Caleb Henson fell victim to just that, losing on a buzzer-beating takedown to Missouri’s No. 9 Brock Mauller.

Henson drove in on Mauller with 45 seconds left in the match but wasn’t able to finish for the takedown. Mauller immediately sprawled on Henson and was able to spin around him for the takedown in the final seconds of the bout to take the win at 149 pounds.

“That guy [Mauller] is really good and it went down to the wire and we were in position to win,” Robie said. “Our guy [Henson] is a true freshman. I think he’s [Mauller] a fifth-year guy, maybe. That shows you where Caleb Henson’s at. We got taken down off our own attack and we gotta be a little bit smarter there in that situation. He’ll learn from it.”

The next match for No. 9 Virginia Tech is on Sunday, Dec. 18 in California against Stanford and Lindenwood.


125: Cooper Flynn (VT) maj dec. Peyton Moore (MIZZOU), 13-3

133: No. 12 Sam Latona (VT) dec. No. 26 Connor Brown (MIZZOU), 6-4

141: No. 6 Alan Hart (MIZZOU) dec. No. 15 Tom Crook (VT), 8-2

149: No. 9 Brock Mauller (MIZZOU) dec. No. 12 Caleb Henson (VT), 7-5

157: Clayton Ulrey (VT) dec. Logan Gioffre (MIZZOU), 3-2

165: No. 1 Keegan O’Toole (MIZZOU) dec. No. 22 Connor Brady (VT), 8-4

174: No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (VT) dec. No. 11 Peyton Mocco (MIZZOU), 3-2

184: No. 8 Hunter Bolen (VT) maj dec. No. 23 Sean Harman (MIZZOU), 13-3

197: No. 1 Rocky Elam (MIZZOU) dec. No. 21 Andy Smith (VT), 7-0

285: No. 8 Zach Elam (MIZZOU) dec. No. 22 Hunter Catka (VT), 4-2

4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. In High School they forced us to go to a wrestling match once a year. They should do that at Tech.

  2. As bright as the future looks with all the gifted young wrestlers we have, the guy I am happiest about is Bolen. Last year was not great for him and he almost walked away. I am so glad he came back and so happy for him to be back to his winning ways. I think he is on a mission this year and can’t wait to see how far he can take it in March. Go Hokies.

    1. Nice. Was wondering about that. Looked like a decent crowd on the stream. (I was sick and couldn’t go.)

Comments are closed.