ROANOKE, Va. - The Coker College wrestling team opened up their 2018-19 campaign with a tough test at the Hokie Open on Sunday (Nov. 4) afternoon. The Cobras brought a handful of wrestlers to a tournament that mainly featured NCAA Division I opponents with a couple of Division II teams mixed in. John Watts (125 lbs) led the Navy and Gold with three victories, while Alex Miller (141 lbs) followed suit with two wins. Frank Velez (125 lbs), Bret Shurina (165 pounds), Pedro Daher (197 lbs), and Dalton Haywood (285 lbs) each collected one victory.
After dropping his opening match, Watts battled back through the consolation rounds with three-straight wins. Watts earned his first victory over teammate Velez with a tight 9-6 decision. Next, Watts prevailed in an offensive shootout over Talha Farooq of George Mason 15-14. Watts won by medical forfeit in his next match before being eliminated from the tournament in his following match. Additionally, Velez recorded a victory for the Cobras at 125 pounds with an 11-6 decision over Michael Perez of UNC Pembroke in his opening bout.
Miller began his Coker career with a bang, collecting a fall in 5:45 over Nathan Buchanan of UNC Pembroke in the round of 32. Following a loss in the round of 16, Miller picked up another fall over a UNC Pembroke opponent, this time over Ethan Hnasko in 5:56. Miller was eliminated from the tournament in the following round.
Shurina dropped his first match in the round of 32, but responded with a fall in the consolations in just a 1:03 over Joey Rocca of Newberry.
At 197 pounds, Daher wrestled hard for a 6-3 decision over Darrien Stutz of UNC Pembroke. In the 285 pound weight class, Haywood earned a quality win over Calvin Hayford of Campbell University with a 2-1 decision.
The Cobras will return to the mats next Sunday (Nov. 11) at the King Open.