BLACKSBURG - It wasn't a conventional practice, but nothing Virginia Tech head wrestling coach Kevin Dresser does is conventional. Dresser, being the creative marketing strategist that he is, decided to give faculty and students a chance to get up close with Tech wrestling as he took the Hokies’ practice to the middle of campus Wednesday as the team held its first outdoor practice in an effort to promote the sport and team.
“We have 35,000 students and faculty within a mile of Cassell Coliseum that we can tap into and this is a great way to show them what we’re all about,” Dresser said.
This morning, staff members took two mats from the practice facility and put them on the grass of the historic Drillfield. There have been concerts, memorials, protests and rallies on the Drillfield, but this was the first wrestling practice. A good group of students, faculty and even some members of the Corps of Cadets stopped by to check things out.
It wasn’t the ideal conditions on the bumpy terrain, but the weather was perfect and the goal was met as posters, shirts and more were handed out as music pumped and the wrestlers battled for an hour on a beautiful fall day in southwest Virginia.
“Number one, we got lucky with the weather and number two, we had a good practice,” Dresser said afterwards. “In our sport, guys get really tired at the end of practice, but our guys pushed themselves. The crowd watching definitely gave them the feel of competing in front of people, so that was good. And third, I think we raised the awareness. Would I have like to have a thousand people out here? Sure, but we’re doing the right things and this is something I’d like to do on an annual basis, maybe on a Saturday before a home football game.”
Tech will continue practicing until it holds a scrimmage next weekend. The Hokies will open the season on Sunday, Nov. 4, hosting the Hokie Open at the Salem Civic Center.
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).