Hokies head to Cleveland for 2018 NCAA Championships

Match Notes

BLACKSBURG – Coming off of winning its second consecutive ACC Championship in Chapel Hill, N.C., two weeks ago, the Virginia Tech wrestling team travels to Cleveland this week for the 2018 NCAA Championships at Quicken Loans Arena.

For the fourth consecutive year, ESPN will provide coverage of every mat and every match across its family of networks on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3, via the WatchESPN app. Coverage will start with the first round on Thursday, March 15, at noon on ESPNU and ESPN3. Links and start times for each session can be found on the schedule page on HokieSports.com.

The Hokies are in search of its sixth straight top 10 finish at the NCAA Championships, a streak that began with a 10th place finish in 2013 in Des Moines. This will be Tech’s second tournament under the direction of head coach Tony Robie but his first as full-time head coach. As interim head coach last season, Robie guided the Hokies to sixth place finish in St. Louis.


  • The Hokies have had at least one wrestler earn a spot on the podium at the last six NCAA Championships, the 11th-longest active streak in the nation.
  • Redshirt junior Zack Zavatsky’s 18 bonus point wins are the fourth-most in the 184-pound field.
  • The Hokies’ nine qualifiers are tied for the second most at the tournament with Iowa, Missouri, NC State, Oklahoma State and Penn State. Lehigh and Ohio State both brought 10 qualifiers to Cleveland.
  • Redshirt sophomore David McFadden is one of 10 wrestlers to enter the tournament with an undefeated record.
  • Freshman Hunter Bolen is one of only 16 true freshmen to qualify for nationals.
  • Virginia Tech is one of only six schools with five or more first time qualifiers.
  • With McFadden as the No. 2 seed at 165 and Jared Haught as the No. 3 seed at 197, this week marks the third time in program history that Virginia Tech has had two wrestlers seeded third or higher at nationals (2017: No. 2 Joey Dance, 125, No. 3 Ty Walz, 285; 2002: No. 1 Scott Justus, 184, No. 3 Sean Gray, 141).


  • Virginia Tech’s nine NCAA qualifiers are its most since it also qualified nine wrestlers in 2013-14. The program record is 10 qualifiers set in 2012-13.
  • Redshirt senior Jared Haught, the third seed at 197 pounds, is only the 14th Virginia Tech wrestler to qualify for nationals four times.
  • Tech has had No. 2 seeds in back-to-back seasons as redshirt sophomore David McFadden, seeded second at 165, follows Joey Dance, the No. 2 seed at 125 last season.
  • Redshirt freshman Kyle Norstrem earned an at-large at 125 pounds after battling through a season that saw him face 14 opponents in this year’s field at nationals.
  • Fellow freshmen Brent Moore (141), Hunter Bolen (174) and Andrew Dunn (285) join Norstrem as Hokies that qualified for NCAAs in their rookie seasons.
  • Redshirt junior Zack Zavatsky, the No. 6 seed at 184, makes his third trip to NCAAs in as many seasons while redshirt senior Dennis Gustafson, the No. 9 seed at 133, returns to nationals for the first time since his true freshman season in 2013-14.
  • Redshirt junior Ryan Blees punched his ticket to NCAAs for the first time and earned a national seed after cutting down to 149 pounds after winter break and going 16-3 down the stretch.


  • Virginia Tech legend Devin Carter is still the only Hokie to reach the national finals, a feat he accomplished at 141 pounds in 2014.
  • This season, with multiple potential finalists in the lineup, the Hokies will not lack experience in their corner as four Tech coaches have appeared in the NCAA finals.
  • Head coach Tony Robie was the third seed when he finished second at NCAAs in 1997, assistant coach Jared Frayer was a national finalist at 149 at Oklahoma in 2002 and director of performance Tyler Graff reached the finals in 2014 at 133 for Wisconsin.
  • Assistant coach Frank Molinaro was a two-time finalist at Penn State and was the national champion at 149 pounds in 2012.


  • After winning both of his matches by major decision en route to winning the ACC title at 165 pounds, redshirt sophomore David McFadden comes to Cleveland with a perfect 31-0 record.
  • He’s the first Virginia Tech wrestler since Scott Justus in 2001-02 to finish the regular season undefeated.
  • McFadden returns to the NCAA Championships after a redshirt season where he recovered from offseason surgery on his knee.
  • He burst onto the scene as the No. 14 seed as a true freshman at NCAAs in 2016 where he placed sixth, despite tearing his ACL during the tournament.


  • Redshirt senior Jared Haught comes to Cleveland as a two-time All-American, two-time ACC champion and the No. 3 seed in the tournament at 197 pounds.
  • Haught boosted his seed by defeating NC State’s Michael Macchievello, the No. 4 seed, in two of his last of his last three matches including a 6-4 win in the ACC title bout in TB-2.
  • In the last two weeks of the season, Haught became only the third Virginia Tech wrestler to be ranked number one in Intermat’s individual rankings.
  • A mechanical engineering major and the 2017 ACC Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Haught has job lined up with Corning Inc. in Christiansburg upon graduating in May.

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