Hokies record top-10 finish at NCAA Wrestling Championships

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Virginia Tech wrestlers Ty Walz and Jared Haught both finished in fourth place in their respective weight classes, and the Hokies clinched a top-10 team finish Saturday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships held at the Scottrade Center.

The Hokies sat in sixth place with 63.5 points, with only the championship finals to be held Saturday night. The finish marks Tech’s fifth straight top-10 finish, and the Hokies’ five All-Americans were tied for the third-most among the teams that competed at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

“I feel like, for the most part, we competed really well at this event,” Tech interim coach Tony Robie said. “I think people need to understand that there are a lot of really good wrestling teams around the country. Really good teams. We’re certainly one of them. In this tournament, there is a razor-thin margin for error, and we had a little bit, but not a lot. A lot of teams feel that way, but again, we had a lot of good things happen, and five All-Americans is pretty good.

Walz, the No. 3 seed at heavyweight, lost a heartbreaker in the third-place match against Arizona State’s Tanner Hall. Walz got a takedown with 20 seconds left in the third period, but Hall escaped to tie the match a 4. He escaped in the tiebreaker, and Walz was unable to do so, losing 5-4 (TB-1).

Walz knocked off Penn State’s Nick Nevills, the No. 5 seed, in the consolation semifinals. He got a first-period takedown to grab the lead and never relinquished it en route to a 5-3 win.

The fifth-year senior closed his season with a 26-4 record and won 109 matches in his career.

Haught, the No.4 seed at 197 pounds, finished in fourth place as well. He faced Ohio State’s Kollin Moore, the No. 3 seed, in the third-place match, and Moore pinned him in the first period. In the consolation semifinals, Haught beat Oklahoma State’s Preston Weigel by a score of 2-1, receiving a point in the second period after officials made three caution calls on Weigel. An escape by Haught near the end of the period gave him a 2-0 lead heading into the third. Weigel escaped from the bottom to start the third, but couldn’t get a takedown, and Haught won 2-1.

Haught finished his tournament with a 4-2 mark and concluded his season with a 28-4 record.

In the consolation semifinals at 125 pounds, Tech’s Joey Dance faced top seed Thomas Gilman of Iowa, who was upset in the championship semifinals Friday night. Dance trailed 3-1 heading into the third period, but an escape cut it to 3-2. Late in the match, Dance took a shot and wasn’t able to get in on Gilman’s leg. The Iowa wrestler quickly reacted, taking down Dance for two points and then holding him at bay the rest of the way for a 5-2 win.

Dance finished in fifth place after UVA’s Jack Mueller, the No. 10 seed, medically forfeited, and went 30-3 this season. He concluded his career at Tech with three ACC championships, two All-America honors and 114 wins.

“After losing [in the quarterfinals], I was like, ‘Well, I’ve been there before,’” Dance said. “I remember two years ago, I went into the bathroom here right after I lost to Gilman and I remember crying and banging my head against the wall. I smashed my first against the ground. I remembered that, and I’m like, ‘That’s not going to be you this year.’ So I just thought about that and thought to myself, ‘You deserve this. You need to show everyone how good you can be.’ I didn’t do it today, but I’m an All-American, and I’ve still got more to prove.”

At 149 pounds, the Hokies’ Solomon Chishko, the No. 6 seed, lost both of his consolation matches and finished in sixth place. He fell 8-0 to No. 5 seed Brandon Sorensen of Iowa in the consolation semifinals. In the fifth-place match, Chishko lost 10-4 to Northern Iowa’s Max Thomsen, the No. 7 seed, after Thomsen had two takedowns in the first period and takedowns in both the second and periods. Chishko went 4-3 in the tournament and 25-6 on the season.

At 157, Tech’s Sal Mastriani, the No. 14 seed, finished in eighth place after losing in the seventh-place match to unseeded Paul Fox of Stanford by fall. Mastriani went 4-3 in the tournament and 20-9 on the season, concluding his Tech career with 65 total wins.

The NCAA Wrestling Championships marked the end of the career for Tech’s three seniors – Walz, Mastriani and Dance. The trio combined for 288 wins, four ACC individual titles and five All-America nods.

“You can’t really say enough about those guys in terms of leaving their mark on Virginia Tech wrestling,” Robie said. “That’s what you want to do. Whenever you’re involved with an organization or spend four or five years somewhere, you want to leave your mark, and those guys have all left their mark in their own way. Hate to see them go. Feel real strongly about those guys with the relationship and what they’ve committed to the program and given to the program. But that’s the way it goes. They’re moving on, and some new guys are going to move in and have an opportunity.”


125: No. 2 seed Joey Dance (5-2, ALL-AMERICAN, FIFTH PLACE)

First round: def. Gabe Townsell (Stanford), 17-2 TF (4:20)

Second round: def. Drew Templeman (Wyoming) 12-2 MD

Quarterfinals: lost to No. 10 seed Jack Mueller (Virginia), 4-2 (SV)

Consolation round: def. No. 5 seed Tim Lambert (Nebraska), 3-1 (SV)

Consolation round: def. No. 16 seed Nathan Kraisser (Campbell), 4-2

Consolation semifinals: lost to No. 1 seed Thomas Gilman (Iowa), 5-2

Fifth-place match: def. No. 10 seed Jack Mueller (Virginia), medical forfeit

149: No. 6 seed Solomon Chishko (4-3, ALL-AMERICAN, SIXTH PLACE)

First round: def. Coleman Hammond (CSBU), 9-3

Second round: def. Joey Delgado (Oregon State), Fall (2:53)

Quarterfinals: lost to No. 3 seed Lavion Mayes (Missouri), 4-2

Consolation round: def. No. 9 seed Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 12-2 MD

Consolation round: def. No. 15 seed Kenny Theobold (Rutgers), 7-5

Consolation semifinals: lost to No. 5 seed Brandon Sorensen (Iowa), 8-0 MD

Fifth-place match: lost to No. 7 seed Max Thomsen, Northern Iowa, 10-4

157: No. 14 seed Sal Mastriani (4-3, ALL-AMERICAN, EIGHTH PLACE)

First round: def. Casey Sparkman (Kent), 20-5 TF (7:00)

Second round: lost to No. 3 seed Joey Lavallee (Missouri), Fall (7:27)

Consolation round: def. No. 13 seed John Van Brill (Rutgers), 10-2 MD

Consolation round: def. unseeded Alex Griffin (Purdue), 8-5

Consolation round: def. unseeded Bryant Clagon (Rider), 8-7

Consolation quarterfinals: lost to No. 5 seed Joseph Smith (Oklahoma State), 9-3

Seventh-place match: lost unseeded Paul Fox (Stanford), Fall (5:00)

174: No. 4 seed Zach Epperly (2-2)

First round: def. Nick Reenan (NC State), 8-1

Second round: def. No. 13 seed Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa), 5-2

Quarterfinals: lost to No. 5 seed Mark Hall (Penn State), 10-2 MD

Consolation round: lost to unseeded Jake Residori (SIU-Edwardsville), 8-3

184: No 5 seed Zack Zavatsky (1-2)

First round: def. Joe Heyob (Penn), 10-5

Second round: lost to No. 12 seed Drew Foster (Northern Iowa), 4-3

Consolation round: lost to unseeded Hunter Gamble (Gardner-Webb), Fall (1:20)

197: No. 4 seed Jared Haught (4-2, ALL-AMERICAN, FOURTH PLACE)

First round: def. Matt Williams (CSBU), 4-1

Second round: def. Cash Wilke (Iowa), 4-1

Quarterfinals: def. No. 5 seed Matt McCutcheon (Penn State), 7-3

Semifinals: lost to No. 1 seed J’den Cox (Missouri), 6-2

Consolation semifinals: def. No. 6 seed Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State), 2-1

Third-place match: lost to No. 3 seed Kollin Moore (Ohio State), Fall (2:27)

Heavyweight: No. 3 seed Ty Walz (4-2, ALL-AMERICAN, FOURTH PLACE)

First round: def. Benjamin Tynan (NDSU), 11-4

Second round: def. No. 14 Thomas Haines (Lock Haven), 9-5

Quarterfinals: def. unseeded Conan Jennings (Northwestern), 15-4 MD

Semifinals: lost to No. 2 seed Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), 4-3

Consolation semifinals: def. No. 5 seed Nick Nevills (Penn State), 5-3

Third-place match: lost to No. 7 seed Tanner Hall (Arizona State), 5-4 (TB-1)

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