Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
Virginia Tech wrestling may not have left Raleigh with an ACC team title, but the ultimately journeyman and sixth-year senior Korbin Myers did not come home empty-handed.
It’s been quite the ride for the Carlisle, Penn. native. Although he could opt to return to Blacksburg for a seventh year, he may have ended his ACC career in the best way possible — with his first ACC title.
Myers was one of two Hokies to win a conference crown, joining Sam Latona at the 125-pound weight class. The seventh-ranked wrestler in the country won the 133-pound weight class by defeating fourth-ranked Micky Phillippi of Pittsburgh, in a battle of the top two seeds in the ACC.
That wasn’t it for the accolades Myers received. Despite the Hokies finishing second in the team standings for the ACC Championships, Myers was named “Most Outstanding Wrestler” of the championships.
Going Out In Style
“It was a great honor,” the Pennsylvania native said. “Coming into a tournament like this, my last go at it; first time champion, and then walking away as Most Outstanding Wrestler was really something special; it’s an awesome feeling.
“(I) wish we could’ve walked away with a team trophy; that’s for sure,” he admitted. “But I’ll take what I can get at this point. It was awesome.”
The Edinboro transfer did not lose a match all season long, and now likely finds himself as a top-4 seed at 133 pounds for the upcoming NCAA Championships in St. Louis. His mission now – a national championship.
An Unlikely Path
Myers probably never saw himself in Blacksburg when he started his college career.
He ended up wrestling for the Edinboro Fighting Scots out of Boiling Springs High School in 2015. He redshirted before qualifying for the NCAA’s both years he wrestled in Edinboro. His final year with the Fighting Scots resulted in an Eastern Wrestling League championship.
“It’s been a rough ride,” Myers confessed. “Coming in as a freshman at Edinboro and kind of spending my first three years there, you know I definitely improved, but I don’t think he had the mental side of the game figured out until I came here to Tech.”
Coming To Blacksburg
Myers then made the move prior to the 2018-19 season to leave his home state of Pennsylvania to head south to Blacksburg.
He left Edinboro with a career record of 74-34. Myers finished his first season with the Hokies at a 20-10 while placing third in the ACC Championships at 133 pounds and qualifying for his third NCAA Championships in three tries.
He then sat out the entire 2019-20 season after suffering a season-ending injury in the offseason.
Fortunately for Myers and Virginia Tech, he was granted a medical redshirt and deemed eligible for this season by the NCAA.
Blessing In Disguise
It may not feel like it for Myers, but his season-ending injury may have been one of the best things to happen to him during his wrestling career. He took full advantage of the medical redshirt. He’s now sitting at 8-0 on the season with an ACC title under his belt.
Myers credits the entire Virginia Tech coaching staff for encouraging him to get where he is today.
“It’s made a huge difference in my wrestling,” Myers said. “I owe a lot of my success to those guys; that’s for sure.”
Bringing It Home
When second-seeded Myers faced off against top-seeded Phillippi in the ACC final, it was the first time the two foes had met this season. Myers didn’t think it gave either side an advantage.
“I don’t even know how many times I’ve wrestled that guy, coming up through high school and then in college,” he said. “We know each other’s styles; we know what we’re going to do.”
Myers was actually the only 133-pounder in the field to have beaten the Virginia transfer. He did so in 2019.
But the redshirt junior came back and defeated Myers 2-1 during the 2019 ACC semifinals. Myers certainly has learned from that one. Barring a meeting in St. Louis, he got the last laugh between the two rivals from Pennsylvania.
A 4-time qualifier for the NCAA’s in the four years he was healthy, Myers now boasts two conference titles — one from the ACC. He will likely get his first All-American accolade at 133 pounds in St. Louis later this month.
But that’s not what the sixth-year senior has in mind.
“Let’s just win it,” Myers exclaimed. “From here on out, it doesn’t matter if you win by a point, tech fall, pin, just be gutsy out there and just get it done. It doesn’t matter how it happens; just win. That’s what I’m focusing on.”
Although he’s received many accolades during his college wrestling career, the ACC champion isn’t satisfied. Myers now turns his attention to securing his first national championship later this month.