Hokie Wrestling 2019: #11 Virginia Tech (1-0) vs #21 Northwestern (0-0) – The Key Play

Match Information
Location: English Field (Mat on the Mound)- Blacksburg, VA
Day & Time: 10 NOV 19 at 1:00pm
Viewing: ACCN Xtra
Updates: Twitter @HokiesWrestling

The Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats

2018-2019 Season

Northwestern’s dual record last year was 5-10 (2-7 Big 10). Throughout last year, their line-up was always in a flux, either due to injuries or weight bumps. One of those victories did come against our Hokies though, 20-16. The Wildcats won 6 of 10 matches with two of those being by major decision. Virginia Tech was also assessed a penalty point from that match. So look for our wrestlers wanting to exact some revenge!

Coach: Matt Storniolo

Coach Storniolo took his position at Northwestern in March of 2016. Since 2010 he was an assistant coach for the Wildcats as well. His collegiate wrestling career began at Penn State, but transferred after his freshman year to Oklahoma. From there he compiled a record of 117-22 where he was an NCAA qualifier four times and an NCAA All-American twice. Matt Storniolo took a 2-13 team and has turn it into a middle-pack, Big Ten wrestling squad going 7-8, 11-4, and 5-10 in respective years for dual meets. He has already coached one NCAA Championship and hopes to build on that trend.

The Line-Up

125lbs: #3 Sebastian Rivera (r-JR, Jackson NJ)
Nicknamed “SeaBass”, is currently the #3 ranked 125lber in country. His current, overall record is 75-14, having qualified for NCAA Tournament and earned All-American twice. Last year, Rivera wrestled at both 125lbs and 133lbs, going on to finish 3rd in the NCAA tournament. In other words, he’s a national title contender. During the dual against Virginia Tech in 2018, he beat Joey Prata 19-8, earning a major decision.

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133lbs: Colin Valvidiez (JR, Lee’s Summit, MO)
Currently unranked, but could be considered a top-30 talent for 133lbs as he always wrestles to rank or seed. His overall record is 37-33 with one NCAA tournament appearance. Last year, he lost to Korbin Myers, 6-4 decision.

141lbs: Alec McKenna (r-SR, Winnetka IL) OR #20 Yahya Thomas (r-SO, Chicago IL)
McKenna is an unranked wrestler who appeared in the second half of the 2018-2019 season for Northwestern. His collegiate record is 32-57 with no post season appearances.

Yahya Thomas wrestled at 141lbs last year, but could be bumping up to 149lbs (where he is ranked #20). He did not compete in all of Northwestern’s duals or wrestle in the Big 10 Championship, but did place third in the Midland Tournament. He wrestled Mitch Moore in the 2018 dual where we won a 2-1 decision. His overall record is 28-15.

149lbs: Shayne Oster (SR, Homer Glen, IL)
Wrestled in last years dual where he won against Ryan Blees, 8-7 tiebreaker. His current record is 37-44, and made his first NCAA Tournament appearance during the 2018-2019 season.

157lbs: #3 Ryan Deakin (r-JR, Broomfield CO)
The other stud of Northwestern, he is currently the #3 ranked 157lber, but also could be considered the best in his weight class. Deakin’s current record is 83-18 and has qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice, with last year being the first time he has earned All-American status. He soundly defeated BC LaPrade in the first match up, 13-3.

165lbs: Erich Byelick (r-SO, Orlando FL)
A huge unknown for the Wildcats, wrestled unattached last year so his record is only 12-9. Being unattached means he did not wrestle in last years meet against Virginia Tech

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174lbs: Tyler Morland (r-SO, Brighton MI)
Unranked as of now, but could very well finish as a top-25 wrestler for 174lbs. Last year he wrestled at 165lbs, where he only wrestled in ten dual matches and earned one win in the Big Ten Tournament, This somehow allowed him to qualify for the NCAA tournament. He did not wrestle in the Virginia Tech dual in 2018 though.

185lbs: Jack Jessen (r-FR, Villa Park IL)
He beat out last year’s starter Brendan Devine (who lost to Zack Vavatsky by fall, in 2018). His record is 12-7 as an unattached wrestler, but he looks to make big waves this year.

197lbs: #13 Lucas Davison (r-FR, Chesterton IN)
He’s the next big thing for Northwestern. Ranked #19 by OpenMat (#11 in WrestleStats and unranked in InterMat) for the 197lbs weight class; he wrestled unattached last year and posted a record of 9-4 in some big name tournaments.

285lbs: Jack Heyob (r-FR, Cincinnati OH)
Another new comer for the Wildcats. He wrestled unattached last year as well, where he earned a record of 9-9.

Match Thoughts

So far, there has been no indication of last minute substitutions for either side so both squads will have their expected line-ups. This is the first time in Virginia Tech Wrestling history, that a match has been held outdoors. Its gonna be a chilly dual, so it will be interesting to see how the wrestlers stay warm.

Northwestern’s strongest weights are in line with Virginia Tech’s weakest. Virginia Tech rolls out five ranked wrestlers: Gerardi (#15), M. Moore (#17), LaPrade (#18), McFadden (#4), and Bolen (#10). I expect this match to be as much as a nailbiter as Missouri, meaning the Hokies have to earn bonus points. They got skunked last year by not capitalizing and losing the toss-ups.

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125#: Rivera maj. dec. Prata (0-4 NW)
133#: Gerardi dec. Valvidiez (3-4 NW)
141#: Mitch Moore dec. McKenna(6-4 VT)
149#: Brent Moore dec. Thomas (9-4 VT)
157#: Deakin dec. LaPrade (9-7 VT)
165#: McFadden maj. dec. Byelick (13-7 VT)
174#: Morland dec. Hughes (13-10 VT)
184#: Bolen maj. dec. Jessen (17-10 VT)
197#: Davison dec. Smeltzer (17-13 VT)
285#: Borst dec. Heyob (20-13 VT)

The toss-up weight classes to watch are 141lbs, 149lbs, and 174lbs. If one or two of these swing a different way, the Hokies could be in trouble (my eyes are on 149lbs to see if Brent Moore can bounce back). But I see Virginia Tech preventing many bonus points and being able to exact revenge 20-13.


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