Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
The fifth-ranked Virginia Tech Wrestling team continued their dual meet dominance this season going on the road to beat No. 24 Central Michigan 20-16 to improve 5-0 in dual meets this season.
The match started with a major ranked showdown at 125 between the Hokies' 12th-ranked Joey Prata and 11th-ranked Drew Hildebrandt of Central Michigan. Prata and Hildebrandt put on a show with Hildebrandt winning in sudden victory, but Prata continuing to show why he's one of the ACC's top breakout wrestlers regardless of weight class.
Tech got on the board soon after as redshirt freshman Collin Gerardi stepped up to pick up a tight 7-6 victory over Drew Merten at 133. Josh Baier made his first ever start at 141 in a dual meet with Mitch Moore out, but was unable to get a win losing via major decision to CMU's Dresden Simon 18-4.
True freshman Bryce Andonian once again filled in for Brent Moore and delivered for the Hokies with a 13-8 decision victory over Corbyn Munson. Andonian continues to headline an impressive freshman class that also includes Sam Latona who, wrestling unattached, finished 3rd at the prestigious Southern Scuffle.
B.C. LaPrade picked up arguably his biggest win of the season going on the road to upset No. 16 Logan Parks 3-2 at 157 to give Tech a 9-7 lead in the meet. With the win, LaPrade should comfortably jump back into the top 20 of the rankings at 157 next week.
David McFadden stepped up as expected from the nation's fourth-best 165 wrestler with a dominant 22-9 major decision over Tracy Hubbard to extend the Hokies' lead to 13-7. Cody Hughes expanded on it with a 7-4 victory over Jake Lowell while Tech's 3rd-ranked 184 wrestler Hunter Bolen added a 18-4 major decision victory over Ben Cushman to give Tech an insurmountable 20-7 lead.
Stanley Smeltzer struggled at 197 losing by fall to CMU's Landon Pelham setting up the second ranked matchup of the day at heavyweight between Tech's 18th-ranked John Borst and CMU's fifth-ranked Matt Stencel. Borst fought admirably and showed why he's forced his way into the rankings at his weight class, but came up short of a victory losing 3-1 to the fifth-ranked Stencel.
For Virginia Tech, it was the latest example of how they are one of the best dual meet in the country even without a pair of starters in Mitch Moore and Brent Moore. B.C. LaPrade picked up a big win that should push him back inside the rankings to headlined the night. Additionally, David McFadden and Hunter Bolen picked up important extra points as you would expect for the team victory while Bryce Andonian continued to show why he could be a future star for the Hokies with another dual meet victory.