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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team has signed nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for 2010-11, head coach Steve Garland has announced. Garland and his staff – associate head coach Scott Moore and assistant coach Alex Clemsen – once again have secured a premier crop of decorated student-athletes.

“You can look at the laundry list of accomplishments these young men have achieved and see that they are great wrestlers,” Garland said. “But more importantly however, it is important to note that these student-athletes have incredible academic records. We hold academic success as a pillar of our program. It is not just some ‘pitch’ we talk about on a home visit. We fully expect our athletes to excel here academically, and we have high hopes this class will do just that.”

The class is highlighted by a pair of wrestlers who are ranked among the top 100 national recruits by InterMat – Nick Sulzer (No. 38) and Gus Sako (No. 99). The duo are teammates at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Sulzer is ranked No. 3 nationally in the 160-pound weight class, while Sako is No. 15 at 125 pounds. In addition, fellow UVa signees Derek Papagianopoulos (No. 10 at heavyweight) and Bryan Whitt (No. 15 at 119) also are ranked nationally in their respective weight classes.

The class also spans much of the United States, with two Virginia natives and two Ohio natives as well as one each from New York, Colorado, Alabama, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The incoming class consists of Billy Coggins (Sound Beach, N.Y.), Tanner Hirstine (Greenwood Village, Colo.), Conner Miller (Washington, Va.), Tanner Moon (Birmingham, Ala.), Derek Papagianopoulos (Burlington, Mass.), Gus Sako (Cleveland, Ohio), Joe Spisak (Boiling Springs, Pa.), Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio), Bryan Whitt (Virginia Beach, Va.).

This group already has garnered national attention and is ranked No. 21 in InterMat’s Early Period Recruiting Class Rankings, which were announced Tuesday. Each of Garland’s four recruiting classes have ranked among the nation’s top 25.

A breakdown of the 2010-11 Virginia Recruiting Class (with projected weights):

Billy Coggins (Sound Beach, N.Y. – 174/184)
High School:
Rocky Point
• 173-25 career record
• Ranked No. 1 in New York this year
• Took fifth at New York state tournament at 160 pounds
• Two-time NHSCA High School All-American
• Took fourth at Super 32 (2009)

Tanner Hirstine (Greenwood Village, Colo. – 149/157)
High School:
Cherry Creek
• 93-12 Career Record
• Named one of Wrestling USA Magazine’s 2009/2010 Nation’s Best High School Seniors (140)
• Named one of Wrestling USA Magazine’s 2008/2009 Nation’s Best High School Juniors (135)
• 2009 USA Wrestling High School All-American (Folkstyle) – (seventh at 140)
• 145-Pound Champion at 2009 Big Horn Nationals
• Took fourth at 135 pounds at 2009 Colorado State High School Tournament and Rocky Mountain Nationals
• Runner-up at 135 pounds at 2008 Big Horn Nationals
• Took fourth at 135 pounds at 2008 Rocky Mountain Nationals
• Notched third place at 130 pounds at 2008 Colorado State Freestyle Championships
• All-State Honorable Mention in 2008 and 2009
• All-Conference First Team in 2008 and 2009
• Academic All-State First Team in 2008 and 2009
• Awarded 2008/2009 Cherry Creek High School Outstanding Varsity Wrestler of the Year
• Team Captain his junior and senior years

Conner Miller (Washington, Va. – 157)
High School:
• 132-24 Career Record
• 51-10 in 2009-10 (19 falls, two tech falls, 10 major decisions)
• Three-time Virginia placewinner
• Took third at 135 in VHSL AAA class in 2009 and fifth at 119 in 2008
• 2006-07 VHSL A State Champion at 103 pounds
• 2006-07 VHSL State Freshman Champion at 103 and finished third at Sophomore States at 119 in 2007-08
• 2008-09 Northwest Region and Cedar Run District champion at 135 pounds
• Took fifth at 2008-09 Mount Mat Madness and eighth at Beast of the East (135 pounds)
• Competed at 2008 Virginia National Junior Duals Team in Oklahoma City
• Took fourth place in Northwest Region at 119 in 2007-08 and also was Cedar Run District Champion
• 2006-07 Region B and Bull Run District Champion at 103

Tanner Moon (Birmingham, Ala. – 125/133)
High School:
Oak Mountain
• 151-22 Career Record
• Four-time Fargo All American
• Was Greco runner up and took sixth in freestyle at 2008 Cadet Nationals
• Took sixth in Greco and fourth in Freestyle at 2009 Junior Nationals
• NHSCA All American
• Two-time Alabama 6A state runner-up (2008 at 103, 2009 at 112)
• 2007 State qualifier at 103
• No. 1-ranked Senior in Alabama among all classes by

Derek Papagianopoulos (Burlington, Mass. – 285)
High School:
Buckingham Browne & Nichols
• 188-16 Career Record
• NHSCA Junior All American – (seventh place at 215 pounds)
• 2009 Junior National Freestyle All American (fifth place at 285 pounds)
• Three-time state finalist, two-time Massachusetts state champion
• 2009 New England Champion
• Two-time Prep National All American (sixth place in 2008, fifth place in 2009 – 215 pounds)
• Also named Massachusetts All-State in football
• ISL League MVP in 2009
• Five-time all-league LB/RB and two-time All-New England LB/RB
• First eighth grader to start both ways on varsity
• School President

Gus Sako (Cleveland, Ohio – 133)
High School:
St. Edward
• 108-12 high school record
• Ranked No. 99 nationally in recruit rankings by InterMat
• Ohio state champion and runner up
• Placed fourth and seventh in the Iron-Man
• Took third at Fargo Cadet Nationals (freestyle)
• Runner-up at FILA Cadet Nationals (freestyle)
• Placed sixth at Freshman Nationals
• Gold and silver medalist at Disney Duals
• Undefeated at the Clash
• Two-time Academic All-American

Joe Spisak (Boiling Springs, Pa. – 133)
High School:
Boiling Springs
• 119-15 Career Record
• Three-time state medalist (second, sixth, seventh)
• Three-time sectional and district champion
• Two-time regional champ; also a regional runner-up once
• Pennsylvania State Freestyle Runner-up
• Two-time placewinner at King of the Mountain

Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio – 165/174)
High School:
St. Edward
• 114-16 career record
• Three-time state placewinner (second, third, second)
• Ranked No. 38 nationally in recruit rankings by InterMat
• Ranked No. 3 nationally at 160 pounds
• Took first in the NHSCA Junior National tournament
• Placed second in the Walsh Ironman in folkstyle

Bryan Whitt (Virginia Beach, Va. – 125)
High School:
• 191-10 Career Record with 141 pins
• Went 48-1 last season, with his only loss coming in the National Prep Championships’ 112-pound final
• Four-time private-school state champion at Norfolk Academy; transferred to Cox this year and is aiming to become Virginia’s first-ever five-time state champion
• Ranked No. 6 among nation’s 119-pound seniors by Wrestling USA Magazine and No. 1 among all 119-pounders in the Southeastern states by Flowrestling
• Three-time placewinner at National Preps
• Has 3.73 GPA

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