Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
When Mississippi State baseball left Omaha with a College World Series championship just a couple of weeks back, they exited an exclusive club that didn’t have a lot of perks.
That club? Power 5 schools that have never won a team national championship — in any sport.
The two that now remain? Kansas State, and of course, Virginia Tech. Hokie fans constantly get silenced in Twitter arguments with ACC foes and schools across the country about their empty national championship trophy case in the Merryman Center.
“This area is reserved for the national championship trophy. Go Hokies!”
Yes, Virginia Tech fans have all painfully seen it scrolling through the timeline whenever a jab is taken by an opposing fan base in retaliation for the Hokie nation’s trolling of a big-time win over their respective team.
Sure, 165-pound Virginia Tech wrestler Mekhi Lewis recently took home an individual national title at his weight in the 2019 NCAA Championships. But when will Virginia Tech actually win its first team national championship?
That’s a question a lot of fans have on their minds.
The Hokies have a lot of “pretty good” programs throughout the athletic department. But which ones could actually go all the way?
There aren’t a lot of obvious ones. But there are four that stand out that could have an outside shot to make a run at a national championship in the near future.
In a 4-part series, we break those down, and tell you which program has the best chance to fill that empty trophy case in Blacksburg. We’ve now made it to the program with the second-best shot of bucking the trend:
Tony Robie’s wrestling program may be the strongest Virginia Tech has to offer. After all, the Hokies were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country this past season. Mekhi Lewis also represents the program as its lone individual national champion.
For those who don’t follow wrestling as intensely, Virginia Tech wrestling is akin to Oklahoma in football, or Gonzaga in basketball. It is always towards the top nationally, but can never get over the hump, especially against powerhouse Big Ten programs like Iowa and Penn State.
So why doesn’t wrestling have the best chances to win Virginia Tech’s first national championship? Well, the format to win it all doesn’t exactly work in the Hokies’ favor.
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In the regular season, Virginia Tech will, for example, wrestle in a dual-meet against Virginia. 10 wrestlers from 10 weight classes from each team will go against each other.
The points for each match are decided as so: Three for a win by decision. Four for a major decision (win by eight or more points). Five for a technical fall (win by 15 or more points), and six for a fall (wrestler is pinned, match subsequently is over).
Those points are consolidated to add up and determine who won the dual.
The problem for the Hokies is that’s now how the NCAA Championships work. Each weight class has its own separate bracket. That only gives the powerhouses like the Iowa’s and Penn State’s a true chance at a national championship.
Why? Their depth just doesn’t compare to the rest of the country.
Still, the Hokies absolutely can contend for a top-3 spot in the nation this next year. They return stars like Lewis, Sam Latona, Korbin Myers, and Hunter Bolen – all of whom are top five wrestlers in the country at their respective weight class.
If Robie and company keep recruiting at a high level, it won’t be long before Virginia Tech has a chance to win a national championship.