A year later, legacy of Lewis’ title remains strong

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A year ago Monday night, Mekhi Lewis made Virginia Tech wrestling history.

The New Jersey-native capped off an improbable run at the NCAA championships, capturing the program’s first national title.

Lewis, a redshirt freshman at the time, was the eighth seeded wrestler in the 165-pound weight class. He defeated three of the top four competitors in that division, including two-time defending champ, Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State, in the final.

The title marked the first by an ACC grappler since 2009 and also Virginia Tech’s 18th individual national title across all sports.

The legacy of that championship is still alive today.

“I think Mekhi kinda paved the way so to speak. I think he opened up a lot of guys’ eyes in terms of what it takes to win an NCAA title,” Virginia Tech head coach Tony Robie said.

“I think it’s contagious. Success is contagious and we had somebody who breaks through and wins. There’s gonna be another guy in line who wants to do that and wants to experience that. And when you’re that close to it and you see how positively it impacted Mekhi’s life and what an awesome experience it was and what an awesome accomplishment it was, if you’re a competitive guy, you follow suit. And you want the same thing for yourself.”

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