WRESTLING: Beckner will wrestle at Va. Tech

FRONT ROYAL — Two-time 3A state wrestling champion Zach Beckner of Warren County has always set high goals for himself.

While dominating his weight class during his high school career as a Wildcat, Beckner's long-range goal was to eventually compete at the highest level in college.

Beckner will get that next over the next several years after signing on to wrestle at up-and-coming D-1 Virginia Tech.

Once a doormat, the Hokies finished fourth in this past seasons NCAA Division I championships.

"Wrestling at Va. Tech will be great," Beckner said. "They're a program that knows what are are doing and they are headed in the right direction."

Va. Tech is coached by Kevin Dresser, a former NCAA national champion from Iowa and also the architect of Virginia state high school powers Grundy and Christiansburg.

"Coach Dresser is a great coach," Beckner said. "He brought Va. Tech, once a struggling program, and turned things around quick. He knows his stuff."

So does Beckner, who holds nearly all the career program records at Warren County.

Besides being a two-time state champ and state runner-up, Beckner was also a three-time district, conference and region champion.

"I am really excited for Zach and his family," Warren County wrestling coach Matt Wadas said. "He had a lot of options and could have taken easier roads, but chose to challenge himself and head to one of the top programs in the nation,

"Va. Tech is a fantastic school and will provide great opportunities for him. Coach Dresser has brought together one of the best staff's in the nation and has risen to a top-four wrestling powerhouse."

Beckner chose not to receive any athletic scholarship money from the Hokies, instead opting to take FAFSA and government aid.

"We decided it smarter to not get any athletic money because I'm eligible to get more money the other way," Beckner said. "Since my mom is a single mom, there's a lot more money from FAFSA, so that makes it cheaper."

Beckner chose Va. Tech over a long list of other schools because of the direction the program is taking under Dresser and because of what the school offers him academically.

"If wrestling doesn't work out for me, it's still a great school to be a part of," Beckner said. "It sets a goal for future Warren County wrestlers to strive for what I did and hopefully be better than me."

Wadas says Beckner's example will most definitely inspire future Wildcat grapplers.

"I know his road in college will be tough, but if he continues his great drive and work ethic he showed in his years at Warren County, I know he will be successful," Wadas said. "He is a great representative of our program and I know he will still have huge support from all of the Wildcat wrestling family. In the last few years we have started to see more kids move to the next level. I hope Zach's signing pushed Warren County further down that road."

Beckner says he will likely be redshirted as a freshman and wrestle in open tournaments.

All-American Joey Dance is entrenched at 125, but will graduate next year, possibly opening up a spot for Beckner.

"My goal is to crack the starting lineup," Beckner said. "But we'll just have to wait and see. I have a lot of progression left."

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