Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Virginia Tech Wrestling started the season with a pair of home wins over ranked opponents, but the 11th-ranked Hokies traveled to third-ranked Ohio State as clear underdogs. However, the Hokies showed on this day that they had what it took to make a statement and pull off a major upset.
No. 11 Virginia Tech stunned No. 3 Ohio State 21-15 to improve to 3-0 in dual meets this season. The Hokies have had their fair share of impressive dual meet victories, but this road victory at Ohio State may be the biggest in program history with the Hokies doing so even while defending 165 national champion Mekhi Lewis is using an Olympic redshirt.
The meet started with an impressive performance from No. 13 Collin Gerardi as the Hokies' talented redshirt freshman picked up a big victory at 133 over Ohio State's No. 14 Quinn Kinner. Gerardi has shown plenty of promise early this season and already looks like a serious contender to be an All-American this year.
At 141, No. 18 Mitch Moore faced a difficult challenge against Ohio State's No. 1 Luke Pletcher and while the sophomore Moore wrestled admirably, he still came up short falling to Pletcher via major decision 13-5.
However, Mitch Moore's older brother Brent Moore made a statement at 149 pinning Ohio State's star freshman, No. 8 Sammy Sasso, in less than 90 seconds to give the Hokies a massive victory and important bonus points. Brent Moore hasn't had the best start to the season, but this is the type of performance that can get everything going in the right direction while it should also put him in the top 20 at 149.
B.C. LaPrade took care of business as 157 as the Hokies' 14th-ranked redshirt junior wrestler defeated Elijah Cleary 3-1 with the Hokies appearing in great shape up 12-4. However, Virginia Tech suffered a surprise upset at 165 when No. 4 David McFadden was upset by No. 14 Ethan Smith 5-4 in a very disappointing result for the redshirt senior star.
Cody Hughes stepped up though as the senior picked up his first victory of the season at 174 beating Rocky Jordan 6-3 to get the Hokies back on track with 3 team points that most VT fans likely weren't expecting. No. 11 Hunter Bolen took care of business at 184 beating Ohio State' Zach Steiner 8-1 to give the Hokies an 18-7 lead.
However, the Buckeyes would keep their hopes of victory alive as 197's No. 1 Kollin Moore beat the Hokies' Stan Smeltzer via a 24-9 technical fall to give Ohio State 5 team points, cutting VT's lead to 18-12. John Borst showed that he may be a top 20 heavyweight against No. 11 Chase Singletary, but came up just short losing 5-2, setting up the match at 125 to decide the dual meet.
Going into the decisive 125 match, Virginia Tech had the tiebreaker should Ohio State only win via a regular decision thanks to Brent Moore's pin earlier in this dual meet. However, Joey Prata made sure than the Hokies didn't need a tiebreaker.
Prata had the biggest win of his career beating No. 20 Malik Heinselman 5-2 thanks to excellent second and third periods, giving VT the stunning 21-15 victory in Columbus over the Buckeyes. Prata may not be ranked next week, but he is showing that he has come a long way as a wrestler and answered some concerns at 125 while Korbin Myers is out.
Many wondered if this may be a slightly down year for Virginia Tech given the youth and the lack of Mekhi Lewis as he pushes for an Olympic bid. However, the young Hokies have stepped up with it not only being impressive that VT upset Ohio State, but that they did so without any team points from David McFadden.
Collin Gerardi and Hunter Bolen continue to impress as a pair of potential new stars for the Hokies. However, the biggest performances came in an upsets from a pair of unranked wrestlers in Brent Moore and Joey Prata who rose to the occasion for the biggest victories of their careers.
While the future for Virginia Tech Wrestling is extremely bright, the present is brighter than anyone anticipated outside of the Tech wrestling room.