Just a couple weeks ago, many questioned the legitimacy of a Virginia Tech wrestling team that lost nationally ranked seniors such as Billy Miller, Ryan Blees and Zack Zavatsky. It definitely did not help that their 2018 national champion Mekhi Lewis would not represent the Hokies during the 2019 campaign as well due to hopes of earning a spot on the United States Olympic team that will take place in Tokyo during the summer of 2020.
With that being said, Virginia Tech has silenced those in doubt by earning victories over two of the best teams in the nation in No. 9 Missouri and No. 3 Ohio State in addition to another nail-biting win against No. 21 Northwestern.
The Hokies continued this sustained success into the Navy Classic on Saturday, a tournament taking place at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It seems as though they have wrestled with a chip on their shoulder throughout the season, and this is thanks in part to the coaching efforts of head coach Tony Robie.
Coach Robie has done an outstanding job not only keeping his wrestlers in the mindset that they are one of the best in the nation, but by planning for the future by recruiting the second-best class in the nation for 2020.
Virginia Tech added to an already reputable resume as they placed first in the Navy Classic, boasting two individual titles from redshirt senior David McFadden and redshirt sophomore Hunter Bolen. Bolen boasted a 5-0 record throughout the tournament en route to the top spot in the 184-pound weight class as he outlasted nationally-ranked wrestlers Andrew Morgan and Tanner Harvey, ranked 11th and 13th respectively.
McFadden also dominated after picking up a key victory over Navy junior Tanner Skidgel in a 9-3 decision. Each and every wrestler representing Virginia Tech in the tournament placed at least fifth, leading to a decisive victory over competing teams as the Hokies placed nine points above the second-place competitor Campbell University.
Next up for Hokie wrestling is a trip to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational, which they competed in last season. The tournament will start Dec. 6 and end Dec. 7 in Las Vegas against many of the top wrestlers in the nation within their respective weight classes. Virginia Tech will look to pace each opponent as it has done so far this season and take home a second straight tournament victory.