Wrestling Wraps Up Season
March 23, 1998
With a 37th place finish at the NCAA Championships, the Cavaliers have concluded the 1997-98 wrestling season. For the second consecutive season, the Virginia grapplers won the state championship, were the runners-up at the ACC Championships, and sent seven men to the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers also strung together an impressive seven-match winning streak late in the season and at the ACC Championships won three titles, marking the third time in four years that Virginia has had a trio of ACC Champions at one meet. Virginia also had three men reach the 30-win plateau.
The Cavaliers were led all year long by senior captain Jason Mutarelli, who had returned for his final year of eligibility competing as a graduate student. He finished as an NCAA qualifier for the third time and won his second ACC Championship. Mutarelli won his second consecutive state championship and also finished eighth at the prestigious Midlands championship. He led the team in wins with 35 and technical falls with 5. Matt Roth reached the NCAA tournament for the third time in his three years of competition and led the team with 10 pins. He also won a title at the state meet. Jim Harshaw was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the state meet for the second year in a row as he captured his second consecutive state title. He also won his second consecutive ACC Championship. His 21-6 record ranked as the best winning percentage on the team and he was a consistent fixture in the national top-20 rankings. Steve Garland, who dropped to 118 this year, also won a state title and reached the 30-win mark while notching nine major decisions to lead the team. He was ranked in the top-20 all year long. Alex Leykikh ranked second on the team with 30 wins (along with Garland) and defended his top-seeding at the ACC meet with his first ACC Championship. Tom Shaw came on strong at the end of the season and finished as the runner-up at both the state meet as well as ACC’s. He was one of the seven national qualifiers for the Cavaliers. Martius Harding was also ranked all year long and battled through numerous injuries to claim his second consecutive state title as well as a runner-up finish at the ACC Championships. Jason Majestic, after seeing limited action as back-up at heavyweight for three years, came into his own this season and won 18 matches.