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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A tough non-conference schedule and home dates with rising programs Maryland, Old Dominion and Virginia Tech highlight he Virginia wrestling team’s 2009-10 schedule, released Wednesday by fourth-year head coach Steve Garland.

“Our goal with our schedule each year is to ensure our student-athletes see top competition,” Garland said. “We feel that this year’s schedule will provide some tough challenges while offering our wrestlers a look at some teams they have not seen in the past. We finish the year with our ACC dual run, which has proven to be extremely difficult in recent years. In all, we feel we have reached a great balance this year.”

The Cavaliers will play host to seven matches this season in Charlottesville, beginning Nov. 7 with home duals against Campbell and Anderson at Memorial Gymnasium. UVa begins its ACC home schedule Jan. 22 against North Carolina, and Virginia Tech will visit Charlottesville for the first time since 2006 on Jan. 23.

After the home opener Nov. 7, UVa will compete at the ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Nov. 15, battling Bucknell, American and Gardner-Webb. Two weeks later, the Cavaliers are slated to face reigning MAC champion Central Michigan (14th at 2009 NCAA Championships), reigning CAA champ Hofstra and Sacred Heart Nov. 28 at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y.

Following finals week, the Cavaliers travel to UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State for a pair of matches on Dec. 19. After 10 days off for the holidays, UVa starts the second half of the schedule Dec. 29-30 at the Southern Scuffle in Greensboro.

The Cavaliers’ 2010 schedule begins Jan. 8-9 at the Virginia Duals in Hampton. The field is loaded and includes seven teams that finished among the top 20 at the 2009 NCAA Championships – Edinboro (sixth), Michigan (11th), Oklahoma State (16th), Penn State (17th), Kent State (18th), Arizona State (T-20th) and Old Dominion (T-20th).

Virginia travels to Philadelphia on Jan. 16, competing against Penn at the Palestra. The Cavaliers last wrestled at Penn in 1997. After the UNC and Virginia Tech bouts, UVa will make its first-ever trips to Rutgers and Princeton on Jan. 29 and 30, respectively. The Cavaliers will be wrestling Princeton for the first time since 1966.

A week later, Virginia will play host to Old Dominion and George Mason. The Cavaliers-Monarchs match last season in Norfolk was one of the most entertaining bouts of the year, with the match coming down to an ODU sudden-victory win in the last weight class as the Monarchs prevailed, 21-18.

After ACC matches at NC State (Feb. 12) and Duke (Feb. 13), the Cavaliers return home to end the regular season against Maryland at 1 p.m. Feb. 20. The Terrapins finished 10th at the NCAA Championships and have won the last two ACC titles – each by a narrow two points over Virginia.

The ACC Championships will be held March 7 at a site to be determined. The 2010 NCAA Championships will be contested March 19-21 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.

Virginia finished 34th at the NCAA Championships last season after going 11-11 in the dual-meet schedule. The Cavaliers will return starters at all 10 weight classes, including All-American Chris Henrich at 174 pounds. They also boast an incoming recruiting class which ranks among the top 10 in the country.

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