BLACKSBURG - The 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team heads west to participate in the NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I National Dual Meet Championships Sunday inside Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University. Also competing this weekend in Ames are No. 5 Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, No. 16 Oregon State and Wisconsin. Also known as “Mat Mayhem,” the ultimate goal of this event is to create a premier national dual meet championship that will become a platform for growing spectator and media interest in wrestling both at the institutional and national levels.
Tech, the No. 4 seed, will take on fifth-seeded Northern Iowa at noon (Eastern) Sunday. The second round will start at approximately 2 p.m. (Eastern) and the finals will take place at 4 p.m. (Eastern). While the Hokies are taking on the Panthers, third-seeded Iowa State will battle sixth-seeded Wisconsin. Top-seeded Iowa and second-seeded Oregon State received first-round byes. The Hawkeyes will wrestle the winner of the Tech/UNI match while the Beavers await the winner of the ISU/UW match.
The draw is an interesting one as the Hokies will face former Tech assistant Doug Schwab, who is now the head coach of Northern Iowa, in the first round. Should Tech win, it will get Iowa in the semifinals, which is coached by former Hokie head coach Tom Brands. The two squads have not met in a dual match since Brands abruptly left for Iowa in 2006.
Each region will have three rounds with the teams being seeded 1-6. In the first round, seeds 1 and 2 will receive a bye with seeds 3 and 6 and 4 and 5 wrestling each other. The winners from the first round matches will move into the semifinals for round 2 against the first and second seed. The winners of the semifinal matches will then advance to the final round. At the same time the final round is being wrestled, the first round teams that lost will wrestle their second match. Semifinal losers will NOT wrestle for third place.
Additionally this weekend, three other regionals will take place. They are in Ithaca, N.Y. (featuring American, Central Michigan, Cornell, Illinois, Oklahoma and Purdue), Stillwater, Okla. (featuring Boise State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Chattanooga and Wyoming) and Piscataway, N.J. (featuring Cal Poly, Kent State, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Rutgers). The four regional winners will meet the following weekend at a to-be-announced location, date and time, based on the results from this upcoming weekend.
For more tournament information: ticket prices, times, and brackets visit the NWCA website.
Click here to view the brackets.
Below is Tech’s probable lineup, as submitted by the coaching staff, as well as UNI's projected lineup based on last weekend's results.
#23 Virginia Tech (7-4)
125: Ty Mitch (10-3) OR Erik Spjut (25-9)
133: #1 Devin Carter (27-1)
141: #20 Zach Neibert (16-7)
149: Nick Brascetta (4-2)
157: Cameron Hurd (11-10) OR Matt Stephens (4-7)
165: #7 Pete Yates (18-4)
174: Chris Moon (15-11)
184: John Dickson (14-15)
197: Nick Vetterlein (22-8) OR Angelo Malvestuto (19-9)
285: Chris Penny (11-5)
Northern Iowa (7-5)
125: Cruse Aarhus (18-13)
133: #11 Joe Colon (20-2)
141: Levi Wolfensperger (8-5)
149: Seth Noble (13-8)
157: David Bonin (25-6)
165: Riley Banach (19-14)
174: Onni Prestidge (4-20)
184: #6 Ryan Loder (27-2)
197: Taylor Kettman (16-11)
285: Blayne Beale (23-9)
Additionally, several Tech wrestlers will head to Pennsylvania for Saturday’s Edinboro Open. Below are those who will compete:
133: Jordan O'Donnell
149: Chris Mears
149: Lex Ozias (unattached)
157: Chad Strube
165: Issah Meade
174: Austin Gabel (unattached)
197: Darren Hankins
285: Dan Garwood
285: Bobby Lavelle (unattached)
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).