No. 4 Hokies head to Raleigh for ACC Championship

BLACKSBURG - The fourth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team kicks off their postseason this weekend in Raleigh, N.C. with the 2017 ACC Championship, hosted by NC State.

The Hokies (18-1, 5-0 ACC) are winners of the last three ACC Dual Meet Championships but last won the ACC Tournament in 2014. Tech finished second last season and third in 2015. With six No. 1 seeds, the most of any ACC squad, the Hokies are the presumptive favorite to take home the conference title.

First-round action will begin at 11:03 a.m. followed by the semifinals (1 p.m.), the consolation semifinals (3:30 p.m.), the consolation finals (5 p.m.) and finally, the championship finals (7:03 p.m.). All bouts of the Championship will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra with Shawn Kenney and Dean Linke handling the play-by-play and Tim Foley and Rock Harrison providing the expert analysis.

The No. 1 Seeds

  • Senior Joey Dance at 125 pounds, redshirt sophomore Solomon Chishko at 149, redshirt senior Sal Mastriani at 157, redshirt junior Zach Epperly at 174, redshirt junior Jared Haught at 197 and redshirt senior Ty Walz at 285 are all No. 1 seeds in their weight classes at this year’s ACC Championship.
  • All of the top seeds receive a first round-bye and will face the winner of the bout between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.
  • Of the six wrestlers, five had perfect ACC records in dual meets
  • Walz, who went 4-1 in ACC dual meets, dropped a deceiving 15-7 major decision to Duke’s Jacob Kasper, the heavyweight bracket’s No. 1 seed.

Returning ACC Champs

  • The Hokies have three returning ACC Champions on their roster in senior Joey Dance, redshirt junior Dennis Gustafson and redshirt sophomore Zack Zavatsky.
  • Gustafson took home the ACC title at 133 pounds as a redshirt freshman while Zavatsky concluded an impressive second half of the season with a conference title last season.

Dance Looking to 3-Peat

  • The two-time defending ACC Champion at 125, senior Joey Dance will look to join exclusive company in program history, as he’s seeking his third conference title.
  • Jarrod Garnett, Jesse Dong, Devin Carter and Nick Brascetta are the only three-time ACC champions in the history of Tech wrestling.

Robie Takes Over

  • After former head coach Kevin Dresser accepted the same position at Iowa State on Feb. 20, associate head coach Tony Robie was elevated to interim head coach.
  • Robie is in his 11th season with the program and has been in Blacksburg since Dresser took the reigns of the program in 2006.
  • A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Robie has helped turn the Virginia Tech wrestling program into a national contender with his acumen on the recruiting trail and his coaching abilities in the wrestling room working with upperweights and middleweights.

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