IntermatWrestle - #21
Wrestling Report - #17
D1CW - #15
WIN Magazine - #12
The Hokies will kick off their 2011-2012 season next Saturday, November 5, against Campbell. The match starts at 5 PM at one of my favorite local wrestling venues, the Salem Civic Center. Coach Dresser and sophomore wrestler Devin Carter have a lot of history in this building and it should be a good night for wrestling. The Hokie Open is also at the Salem Civic Center and begins Sunday, November 6 at 9 AM. This should be another good day of quality wrestling.
Jarrod Garnett, a fourth year senior, is the returning starter at 125 pounds, but I am hearing some talk of giving Garnett a redshirt year. Garnett is definitely match tested, with three NCAA Tournament appearances in as many years.
If the Hokies decide to redshirt Garnett, there are two options behind him. The first is Erik Spjut, a redshirt sophomore with 13 total match appearances with a career record of 7-6. Spjut was the starter at 133 pounds as a true freshman, but a knee injury ended his season early and he took a redshirt year last year. The second option is redshirt freshman Ty Mitch, who has no collegiate match experience, but was a three-time Ohio State Champion and won 163 matches during his high school career.
There is no question of who the starter will be at 133 pounds. Devin Carter is a solid sophomore wrestler for the Hokies. Carter won ACC Freshman of the Year last year and was one match away from making the All-American round in the NCAA tournament last year. Carter comes into the season ranked 6th in the nation at the 133 pound weight class.
Redshirt sophomore Zach Neibert is set to be the Hokies' starter at 141 pounds. Neibert, who filled in at 141 pounds last year, has a career record of 22-6. He placed second at the Hokie Open last year and should give Virginia Tech some solid matches this year. He has 2 ACC foes ahead of him if he wants to make it to the NCAA Tournament this year. Virginia senior, Nick Nelson and NC State senior, Darrius Little are both solid wrestlers that stand in the way of Neibert and St. Louis.
The 149 pound weight class is very deep, and it’s a good thing. Brian Stephens comes into this season as the expected starter at 149 pounds. He is currently ranked 14th in the country at 149, but he had a knee injury and has just recently recovered enough to be deemed healthy. Word is that the Hokies are keeping the redshirt as an option for Stephens.
If Stephens does indeed redshirt, true freshman Nick Brascetta and redshirt senior Nick Murray are the other two options here. Brascetta championed one of the largest high school tournaments in the country last year, the Walsh Ironman and was a two-time Ohio State Champion. Murray holds a 41-28 record as a collegiate wrestler and has a 2-2 career conference record.
Hokies senior, Jesse Dong, will start at 157 pounds this year. He is currently ranked at #7 in the country. It was decided that Jesse would redshirt last year, but the redshirt was pulled and Dong made his season debut in January. Dong is a two-time ACC Champion and after winning last year's ACC Championship, he grabbed the #5 seed at NCAA's. Jesse had a disappointing performance in the NCAA Tournament and I expect him to make some noise in St. Louis this year.
Pete Yates, ranked # 16 in the nation, is the man at 165 pounds for the Hokies this year. He is a redshirt junior with a career record of 69-24 and a 9-0 career conference record. He made the NCAA Tournament last year, where he upset the #11 seed out of Iowa in the 1st round. Expect big things out of Yates this year.
There is a lot of depth for the Hokies at 174 pounds. Expect sophomore, Chris Moon to start here for the Hokies this year. He posted a record of 23-10 as a freshman. Moon, who was recruited as and expected to be a 165 pounder has grown into a 174 pound wrestler and added to the depth here.
If something happens and Moon does not start, freshman Austin Gabel and junior John Dickson are waiting. Gabel was a three-time Colorado State Champion in high school. Dickson holds a career record of 21-24 including a 2-3 record within the ACC.
This is possibly the weakest weight class this season for the Hokies because of a lack of depth. Redshirt freshman Angelo Malvestuto is pretty much the only option for the Hokies here. A New York State Champion, he also holds the record at his high school for career victories with 225.
Chris Penny is a familiar name at 197, but the Hokies aren't leaving the option of a redshirt year out. Penny is a junior with a career record of 17-37. Coach Dresser is leaving the redshirt option open because the Hokies are toying with the possibility of moving Penny to Heavyweight next year.
If Penny does indeed redshirt, Nick Vetterlein will start here. A former 174 pound wrestler, Vetterlein is a redshirt sophomore with a career record of 14-10.
Finally, redshirt senior David Marone is healthy. He begins the 2011-2012 season ranked # 19 among heavyweights in the country. Marone boasts a career record of 69-36 and earned an at large bid to the NCAA Championships last year. He made the most of it as he was one match from the All-American round. Expect big things out of the senior this year.
Click here for the Hokies' wrestling team full schedule.