Hokies wrap up weekend at World Team Trials

BLACKSBURG - First-year Virginia Tech wrestling assistant coach Frank Molinaro retained his status on the USA Wrestling National Team on Saturday night in Lincoln, Nebraska after he placed second in the 65 kg finals at World Team Trials.

Molinaro, who received a bye to the championship finals after being named U.S. Open champion on Friday, fell to Zain Retherford in a best of three championship series, 2-1. He highlighted a Hokie contingent that featured 2017 graduate Ty Walz and rising redshirt sophomore David McFadden.

Trailing 6-4 late in the second period of the first bout, Molinaro picked up a takedown on the edge of the mat, putting him ahead on criteria. Retherford challenged the call but lost, awarding Molinaro another point that clinched the first bout, 7-6.

After Retherford claimed the second match, Molinaro opened the deciding bout with two points but soon fell behind 5-2. Molinaro was able to turn Retherford to cut to one, 5-4, but Retherford quickly got him on his back to go back up by three, 7-4, late in the second. It was all Retherford needed as he clinched series and the spot on the World Team.

After falling to Micah Burak in the main bracket of 97 kg, Walz went 1-1 on backside with a 3-0 decision over Nikko Reyes of Valley RTC. The Cleveland native concluded his first go on the senior freestyle circuit with a fifth place finish at the U.S. Open and a 1-2 mark in Lincoln this past weekend.

McFadden started his day on Friday with a quick 12-1 tech fall over Taleb Rahmani of Pitt and later jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the first period against Iowa’s Alex Marinelli, the top seed at 74 kg. Despite the early lead, Marinelli stormed back to take the bout 10-4. McFadden then went 1-1 on the backside, including a 10-0 tech fall in the consolation semis, to take fourth place.

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