No. 17 Wrestling Opens 2009-10 Campaign at Mem Gym Saturday
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team, ranked as high as No. 17 nationally, will begin its 2009-10 season this Saturday when it plays host to Anderson and Campbell in a double dual at Memorial Gymnasium. Anderson and Campbell will start the day with a 10 a.m. dual, followed by Virginia facing Anderson at noon. The Cavaliers and Camels will close the day with a 2 p.m. bout. Admission is free to all three matches. Live results of the UVa matches will be available here.
Fourth-year head coach Steve Garland welcomes back starters back at eight weight classes from last season and also returns 2009 redshirts Michael Chaires (So., Scotia, N.Y.), Shawn Harris (So., Cleveland, Ohio) and Danny Gonsor (So., Cleveland, Ohio) to the mix.
As a team, Virginia is ranked as high as No. 17 nationally in the W.I.N. tournament power index – the team’s highest ranking in program history. UVa also is ranked 20th in the preseason InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News and D1Wrestling.net rankings.
Six Cavaliers are ranked in the various preseason polls. Chris Henrich (Jr., Lansdale, Pa.) highlights the list of Cavaliers in the individual rankings – he is ranked as high as No. 2 (WIN, D1Wrestling.net) in the 174-pound class. Henrich earned All-America honors last season and went 40-3.
Brent Jones (Sr., Burke, Va.) is ranked as high as No. 7 at 197 pounds, and Nick Nelson (Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) stands as high as 10th at 141. Michael Chaires (So., Scotia, N.Y.) is 16th in the InterMat rankings at 165 pounds, while Ross Gitomer (Sr., Flemington, N.J.), who is coming back from a season-ending knee injury last year, is 17th in the D1CollegeWrestling.net rankings at 125 pounds. Matt Bonson (So., Lewistown, Pa.) is ranked 21st at 133 pounds by D1CollegeWrestling.net.
UVa will welcome several new faces to the mix this weekend. Bloomsburg transfer Matt Snyder (R-Fr., Lewistown, Pa.) and true freshman Matt Cubillos (Schenectady, N.Y.) each are expected to see their first action as Cavaliers at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively, while redshirt freshman Mike Salopek (North Huntingdon, Pa.) is slated to compete at 184 pounds as he takes over for three-time ACC champion Rocco Caponi, who graduated in the spring.
Virginia has a challenging November ahead. Next week, the Cavaliers will face No. 16 American as well as Bucknell (with four ranked wrestlers) and Gardner-Webb at the ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, N.C. Two weeks later UVa will square off with No. 13 Central Michigan, perennial power Hofstra and Sacred Heart at the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y.
Anderson is ranked 10th in the preseason NCAA Division II Super Region I poll. At 133 pounds, Chris Francis is ranked sixth, while J.J. Jackson is ranked third in the region at 157 pounds. Jackson finished 16-8 last season after earning a spot at the NCAA Championships. Luis Audelo is ranked sixth at 197 pounds. The teams last met in the 2007-08 season opener, a 45-3 UVa win at Mem Gym. The Cavaliers own a 2-0 series advantage.
Campbell went 8-10 last season and finished fifth in the East Region Championships. Parker Burns (197) and Khiry Reid (285) each finished as runners-up at the region championships. The Camels suffered at 32-9 loss to Virginia last season in Buies Creek, N.C. UVa holds a 2-0 edge in the all-time series.