Virginia Tech to play waiting game for first-ever NCAA trophy

Updated: March 19, 2016

(Photo: Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta ended his career on a high note when the 157-pound Hokie defeated Cornell’s Dylan Palacio for third place Saturday afternoon in Madison Square Garden.)

NEW YORK — There is no question Penn State is the best college wrestling team this year, considering the Nittany Lions feature five finalists and lead second-place Oklahoma State (with two finalists) by a 14.5-point margin heading into Saturday night’s finals.



But Saturday’s afternoon’s All-American round drama suggested that there are four schools — Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Iowa and Ohio State — that are still in the running for the three remaining team trophies … as 11 points separate these schools.


Of these schools, the Virginia Tech Hokies, whose highest national finish is eighth place, will not have a wrestler in the finals. The Hokies need for all three of Iowa’s finalists — Thomas Gilman (125), Cory Clark (133) and Brandon Sorensen (149) — and Ohio State’s finalists — Myles Martin (174) and Kyle Snyder (Hwt) — to lose to keep their standing in the final results.

A victory by any of these finalists will give each school at least four points per decision.

Finishing in the top four would garner Virginia Tech it’s first-ever NCAA trophy. The Hokies, who have secured a school-record six All-Americans, lost a team point during a consolation semifinal when Nick Brascetta was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct in his victory over Rider’s Chad Walsh.

Among Tech’s most impressive All-Americans was Zach Epperly, who ended up winning seven straight wrestle backs, the final one — a third-place win over Penn’s Casey Kent — to avenge a first-round loss to the Quaker on Thursday.

Top 10 Team Scores heading into Finals

Pl. School (Finalists) Points
1. Penn State (5) 114.0
2. Oklahoma State (2) 89.5
3. Virginia Tech (0) 82.0
4. Iowa (3) 81.0
5. Ohio State (2) 78.0
6. Missouri (1) 70.5
7. Cornell (2) 59.0
8. Nebraska (1) 58.0
9. Michigan (0) 50.5
10. NC State (1) 49.0


The following is a look at the highlights of the 2016 NCAA All-American placement matches.


125 pounds

3rd — #1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio St.) dec. #15 David Terao (American U.), 5-3 — The Buckeye sophomore used a third-period (1:21 left) takedown to clinch third place, but the native of Honolulu, Hawaii, earned a standing ovation after giving the national champ such a close bout. Terao appeared to put take the Buckeye to his back in the second period but the video challenge did not overturn the call.

5th — UN Conor Youtsey (Michigan) won by medical forfeit over Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa) — The Panther was unable to wrestle after tweaking an injured knee in consolation semifinal to American’s David Terao.

7th — #5 Ryan Millhof (Oklahoma) dec. #10 Connor Schram (Stanford), 1-0 — The Sooner scored the match’s only point on an escape


133 Pounds

3rd #4 Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) dec. #3 Zane Richards (Illinois), 9-4 — A high crotch takedown gave the defending national champ a 7-4 lead with 51 seconds left in the second period before the four-time OU All-American added a 1:03 riding time advantage.

5th #7 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) dec. #5 Jordan Conaway (Penn State), 7-4 — Trailing 4-2 after a pair of takedowns by the Nittany Lion, the Husker caught Conaway in a turk for four-point nearfall that also led to a 1:18 riding time advantage.

7th #8 Earl Hall (Iowa St.) won by TF over UN Jade Rauser (Utah Valley) 17-1, (2:16) — The Cyclone took the Wolverine straight to back as the bout started and added another four-point nearfall within the first minute of the bout, then did it again with 44 seconds left in the first frame.


141 Pounds

3rd — #2 Joey McKenna (Stanford) dec. #4 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers), 7-6 — In a battle of former New Jersey preps, McKenna (formerly of Blair Academy) scored his second takedown with 1:38 to beat the former four-time NJ state champ. A second-period reversal gave McKenna a 4-1 lead before the Scarlet Knight escaped and scored a takedown with 1:07 left in the period.

5th #12 Chris Mecate (Old Dominion) dec. #7 Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech), 5-3 — The Monarch scored the winning takedown with 26 seconds left moments after earning an escape to tie the bout. Both wrestlers exchanced reversals in the second period.

7th #8 Joseph Ward (North Carolina) dec. #16 Randy Cruz (Lehigh) 3-1 sv — The Tar Heel scored the bout’s only takedown on a double leg with 37 seconds left in the overtime period.


149 Pounds

3rd — #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) dec. #11 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma St.), 3-2 — A takedown off a double leg with 32 seconds left in the first period held up to be the winning margin for the Tiger, who added a third-period escape.

5th — #10 Mike DePalma (Kent St.) pinned Alec Pantaleo (Michigan), 3:30 — The former transfer from Edinboro ended his career on a high note by twice putting the Wolverine on his back; the second ending in a fall.

7th — #9 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) dec. Geo Martinez (Boise State), 5-1 — The redshirt freshman scored takedowns in the first and second periods and added a 2:16 riding time advantage.


157 Pounds

3rd — #8 Nick Brascetta (Virginia Tech) dec. #5 Dylan Palacio (Cornell), 4-1 — The Hokie scored the bout’s only takedown with 39 seconds left in the second, then added a 1:10 riding time advantage.

5th — #15 Chad Walsh (Rider) won by medical forfeit over Ian Miller (Kent St.) — The Golden Flash was unable to wrestle in either wrestleback on Saturday after injuring his leg in the semifinal loss to Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez on Friday night.

7th — #6 Joseph Smith (Oklahoma St.) dec. #2 Thomas Gantt (NC State), 6-3 — The Cowboy freshman scored two takedowns, the second coming off an inside single with 1:28 left in the second for the victory.


165 Pounds

3rd — #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio St.) dec. Daniel Lewis (Missouri), 9-7 — The Tiger led 5-2 in the second period before the Buckeye exploded with a reversal, two takedowns and a 2:06 riding time advantage.

5th — #6 Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) dec. #14 David McFadden (Virginia Tech), 8-5 — The Illini, a native of New York, enjoyed his homecoming even more when he clinched the victory on a double with 1:44 left, then added a 2:05 riding time advantage.

7th — #10 Austin Wilson (Nebraska) dec. #7 Anthony Perrotti (Rutgers), 4-2 — Trailing 1-0 entering the third period, the Husker scored his only takedown with 1:28 left, then added a 2:25 riding time advantage.


174 Pounds

3rd — #8 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech) dec. UN Casey Kent (Pennsylvania), 8-4 — The Hokie avenged his first-round loss to the Quaker and ended the tournament on a seven-match winning streak by scoring a first-period takedown, second-period penalty point and reversal with 1:05 left.

5th — #12 Nathan Jackson (Indiana) dec. UN Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa St.), 5-2 — After giving ups a first-period takedown to the Cyclone, the Hoosier responded with two escape, a second-period takedown and a 2:17 riding time advantage.

7th — #7 Cody Walters (Ohio) dec. #13 Alex Meyer (Iowa), 4-3 — After the Hawkeye rode Walters the entire second period, the Bobcat scored a takedown then added a reversal with six seconds left to lead 4-2.


184 Pounds

3rd — #13 Pete Renda (NC State) won by TF over #8 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma St.), 18-3 — The Wolfpacker led 10-3 after one period — after securing two takedowns a reversal and two-point nearfall and built up nearly six minutes of riding time.

5th — #9 Mathew Miller (Navy) dec. Willie Miklus (Missouri), 4-2 — The Midshipmen earned a standing ovation after he scored a second-period takedown and third-period reversal.

7th — #10 Nate Brown (Lehigh) dec. #2 Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 9-3 — The defending national runner-up used a four-point nearfall to lead 4-0 in the second period, then swapped takedowns with the Hawkeye before adding a 1:49 riding time advantage.


197 Pounds

3rd — #3 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) dec. Nathan Burak (Iowa), 2-1 — A 1:23 riding time advantage, which came after riding the Hawkeye for 1:32 in the second period, provided the winning margin for the Gopher.

5th — UN Patrick Downey (Iowa St.) pinned Jared Haught (Virginia Tech), 3:48 — The Cyclone was trailing 3-1 — following a first-period takedown by the Hokie — when Downey hit a throw with 1:12 left in the second period.

7th #5 Conner Hartmann (Duke) major dec. #7 Brett Harner (Princeton) 11-2 — The Blue Devil’s used a four-point nearfall to lead 8-0 with 31 seconds left in the second period, then added a 3:09 riding time advantage.


Hwt Pounds

3rd #5 Adam Coon (Michigan) pinned Ty Walz (Virginia Tech), 7:57 sv — The Wolverine had already clinched the victory when he scored the bout’s only takedown with eight seconds left — giving him a 3-1 lead — then added two more team points with the fall.

5th — #7 Amarveer Dhesi (Oregon St.) pinned Austin Marsden (Oklahoma St.), 1:29

7th — #9 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) dec. #8 Max Wessell (Lehigh), 5-2 — The Gopher ended the Minnesota on a positive note after he led 3-2 after two periods.