Borst commits to wrestle at Virginia Tech

John Borst

For Sherando High School standout wrestler John Borst, Virginia Tech made perfect sense.

The two-time Virginia High School League state champion has been a consistent visitor to the school’s Blacksburg campus ever since he began attending wrestling camps at Virginia Tech in fifth grade. Borst grew up envisioning a college wrestling career with the Hokies.

The rising high school senior chose his dream school by making a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech last Wednesday because it has been and probably will always be “the best fit” for Borst. But he also sees it as a chance to help the Hokies continue to build a strong wrestling presence in Virginia.

“I’m happy to be a part of that and stay in state and kind of get that message to the younger kids that you don’t have to leave the state to go to a great wrestling school and a great wrestling community,” Borst, who recently returned home after competing in the United World Wrestling (UWW) Cadet Nationals in Akron, Ohio, said Monday. “I’m staying in state and I’m still gonna be a part of one of the top four programs in the country, and that’s an incredible status for me. I thoroughly enjoy and am proud to say that I’ll be a part of that team and hopefully a national championship team come the next five years. It’s definitely just good all around. Committing my junior year to a school that I love, my dream school, it’s a feeling I wish everyone could feel.”

Borst’s commitment to wrestle for Virginia Tech for the 2017-18 school year came quickly after his unofficial visit to Blacksburg to “catch up” with Hokies head coach Kevin Dresser last Wednesday. Borst didn’t intend to make his college choice after the visit but said he realized as he was leaving Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum that the Hokies were the obvious choice.

“It dawned on me, we were walking out of Cassell shortly after saying goodbye to Dresser and I looked at my parents and I just said you know, this is where I’m gonna be … I’m coming here, I’m gonna wrestle, I’m gonna be a Virginia Tech Hokie,” Borst recalled. “Shortly after I got home I called Dresser and I said let’s make it happen, and he said, ‘Let’s do it.'”

Borst said he chose Virginia Tech over North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Old Dominion, North Carolina State, Campbell, Northern Colorado and a few schools in the Midwest. Tech was one of about eight schools to offer Borst a scholarship, he said.

Virginia Tech is coming off the best season in the program’s history in 2015-16, Dresser’s 10th year at the school. The Hokies placed fourth in the NCAA Division I tournament earlier this year, the best finish in the history of the school and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Borst, who trains in Blacksburg for Team Virginia each summer, called Dresser a “great dude.”

“The one thing that caught my eye about Dresser is that he will be so straightforward to you and so honest about everything,” Borst said. “It’s something that you’re not gonna see in every other coach. Like some programs only feed you the stuff you wanna hear, while Dresser is sitting here and saying, ‘Here’s what you’ve gotta do to be successful. Here’s what you need to do.’

“The first time I met Dresser I was in sixth grade, fifth or sixth grade, and I just remember meeting him and him being the meanest man alive. Like absolutely just gritty, and you looked at him and you knew he was just the baddest man on the planet. Coming up my freshman year I kind of realized that’s what it takes, that’s what it’s gonna take to be great.”

Borst went 55-2 with 43 pins during his junior season with Sherando this year, winning the Group 4A state championship at 182 pounds. He added a National High School Coaches Association championship after the season.

Borst is the second local wrestler to choose Virginia Tech this spring. Warren County’s Zach Beckner signed his commitment letter to join the Hokies for the upcoming school year in April.

Through his participation in Dresser’s summer wrestling camps, Borst has developed friendships with many of Virginia Tech’s current wrestlers – “They wanted me to go there as bad as I wanted to go there,” he said – and he will join good friend T.J. Allen, whom Borst beat for the VHSL state title in February, on the Hokies’ roster.

“After I committed he texted me and he said, ‘Hey, this is gonna be fun. We’re gonna do something big here,” Borst said of Allen, a senior from Hanover.

Borst’s first chance to sign his national letter of intent will come in November during the early signing period.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com