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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia wrestling team (4-4) opens its 2009 slate Friday and Saturday as it participates in the 29th annual Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va. UVa, the tournament’s seventh seed, begins at 11 a.m. against Navy and then will battle either 13th-ranked Oklahoma State or Clarion at 3 p.m.

In addition to Virginia, the 16-team field is comprised of No. 8 Lehigh, No. 12 Central Michigan, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 15 Edinboro, No. 22 Penn, No. 23 Old Dominion, Kent State, Navy, Bucknell, Clarion, Liberty, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Ohio and Rider. Lehigh is the No. 1 seed, while Oklahoma State is No. 2. Seeds three through eight are Central Michigan, Edinboro, Penn, ODU, Virginia and Kent State, respectively.

Virginia finished seventh last week at the Southern Scuffle despite competing without four starters (Matt Bonson, Mike Sewell, Rocco Caponi, Jack Danilkowicz) because of injury or illness. The Cavaliers also lost 125-pounder Ross Gitomer (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) to an injury in the semifinals, and he is out indefinitely. Bonson, Sewell and Caponi are all slated to return this weekend.

Five Cavaliers placed at the Southern Scuffle with Chris Henrich (So., Lansdale, Pa.), taking runner-up honors to Cornell’s Steve Anceravage in the title match. Both wrestlers came into the bout undefeated, and the match lived up to the billing, as it went to a sudden victory period before Anceravage, ranked fifth nationally and the top seed, pinned Henrich at the 7:30 mark. The loss to the reigning All-American dropped Henrich to 20-1 this season.

Jedd Moore (Fr., Mount Vernon, Ohio) and Nick Nelson (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned fourth place at 157 and 141 pounds, respectively. Brent Jones (Jr., Burke, Va.), took fifth place at 197 pounds, while Gitomer nabbed sixth at 125.

Virginia has four wrestlers in the InterMat individual rankings this week Caponi, ninth at 184; Henrich, 10th at 174; Jones, 19th at 197; and Moore, 20th at 157.

Virginia went 3-2 at the Virginia Duals last year. As the fifth seed, the Cavaliers earned wins over Ohio (36-3), Lock Haven (33-6) and Lehigh (27-9) and suffered defeats to Penn (16-14) and Old Dominion (23-12). Henrich (174), Caponi (184) and Jones (197) each won all five of their bouts.

UVa has never defeated Navy in wrestling (0-6) and has not competed against the Midshipmen since 2000, a 27-12 Navy victory. The Cavaliers wrestled Clarion last season at the Northeast Duals and scored a 30-10 win to knot the series at three apiece. UVa wrestled Oklahoma State for the first time in program history earlier this season at the Northeast Duals, with the Cowboys notching a 33-7 win.

Virginia is back in action next weekend, as it kicks off its home schedule at Memorial Gymnasium. The Cavaliers will play host to a three-team round robin Saturday with UNC Greensboro and Rutgers. The Spartans and Scarlet Knights will square off at 11 a.m., followed by Virginia against UNCG at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers and Scarlet Knights wrestle at 3 p.m. Virginia then matches up with Appalachian State at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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