The No. 9 Virginia Tech wrestling team opened its home competition schedule in grand fashion Sunday night with an upset victory over the visiting No. 7 Missouri Tigers, 17-15, in front of a 2,892 Hokie home crowd of almost 3,000 spectators.
Redshirt senior Hunter Bolen’s late takedown was key in the Hokies’ win.
Tech was led by bonus-point victories from redshirt freshman Cooper Flynn and Bolen. The Hokies also got a gutsy win from sophomore Clayton Ulrey..
“We had a good win over a really good team tonight,” said head coach Tony Robie. “We had some guys who I thought wrestled well, both in winning and losing efforts. I thought we were aggressive in a lot of places, maybe even too aggressive in some places, and it cost us a little bit but overall I think anytime you can get a win against a team like Missouri you have to feel good about it, and I think the fact that we feel good about it and we don’t feel great about it just tells us how good our team is and how good we can be down the stretch here.
“Tonight was a good opportunity to wrestle some highly ranked guys with multiple All-Americans, a national champion, and world champions in their lineup, so it was a great experience for our guys and I think it’s going to help us moving forward,” Robie said. “The energy and atmosphere from Hokie Nation was great as always.”
Starting off the dual with two back-to-back wins were Cooper Flynn and redshirt junior Sam Latona to get the Hokies a 7-0 lead. Flynn made his dual season debut in a dominant display with a major decision over Peyton Moore. Flynn was aggressive early and often, racking up five takedowns along the way to his 13-3 victory in his Cassell Coliseum debut to push the Hokies ahead in the dual. Latona followed up with another strong performance in a 6-4 decision. Latona scored two takedowns in what was a controlling bout to give the Hokies a 7-0 lead early in the dual.
After dropping two close matches at 141-pounds and 149-pounds, sophomore Clayton Ulrey stepped up in a big way to swing momentum back to the Hokies by grinding out a gritty 3-2 decision over Logan Gioffre. The match was highlighted by a 1:00 scramble as the bout ended to give the Hokies a much-needed victory heading into the second half of the dual.
In his last, first home dual, Bolen was in dominant form, putting on a takedown clinic over No. 23 Sean Harman en route to a 13-3 major decision. Bolen was aggressive throughout the bout and tough on top to pick up the Hokies’ fifth win of the evening. He added a takedown late to pick up the major decision and pick up the second bonus point victory for the Hokies in what proved to be the difference in the upset of the Tigers.