No. 22 Wrestling Opens Season Saturday Morning at Mem Gym
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The reigning ACC champion Virginia wrestling team launches its 2010-11 season with a home quadrangular meet beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium. Ranked No. 22 nationally in the preseason InterMat rankings, the Cavaliers will wrestle Anderson at 9 a.m., Rider at 10:30 and Gardner-Webb at noon. Admission is free to all matches.
Live updates for Virginia’s matches will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
Coming off its first league crown since 1977, Virginia enters the season with some of the highest expectations in program history. UVa took 15th place at the 2010 NCAA Championships – the second-best NCAA finish in program history. The Cavaliers return eight former NCAA qualifiers, six of whom competed on the ACC championship team last year. In addition, Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Jedd Moore (R-So., Mount Vernon, Ohio) return to the lineup after taking redshirts during the 2009-10 campaign. Both competed at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Two-time All-American Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) anchors the Cavaliers’ lineup at 174 pounds. Henrich enters the season with 101 career victories and needs just 16 wins to become the winningest wrestler in school history. Henrich is ranked No. 2 nationally at 174 entering the season.
Five more Cavaliers are ranked in the preseason national polls. Nelson at 141 (12th in Amateur Wrestling News, 16th in InterMat), Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.) at 149 (20th InterMat, 19th AWN), Moore at 165 (19th AWN), Mike Salopek (R-So., North Huntingdon, Pa.) at 197 (17th Intermat, 18th AWN) and Jack Danilkowicz (R-Sr., Green Oaks, Ill.) at heavyweight (20th AWN).
While many of the faces remain the same, the Cavaliers still will showcase several lineup changes this year. Valenti, Shawn Moore (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) and Salopek all are moving up a weight class from last season. Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.) shifts back to his normal 125-pound class after competing at 133 for much of the previous season.
Rider boasts a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers. Jimmy Kirchner begins the season ranked 18th at 133 and Tyler Smith is ranked 20th at 197 pounds, according to Amateur Wrestling News. Both qualified for NCAAs last season.
Virginia and Anderson also wrestled last year in the season opener, with UVa taking a 37-9 victory. The Cavaliers also competed against Gardner-Webb last season and scored a 50-0 victory in a dual at the ACC Challenege in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Virginia is 0-3 all-time against Rider. The programs have not met since Rider captured a 32-6 win in 2001 at the Virginia Duals. The Cavaliers are 3-0 all-time against Anderson and 2-0 vs. Gardner-Webb.
Virginia hits the road for the first time in 2010-11 next Saturday (Nov. 13), traveling to Hershey, Pa., for the Hershey Duals. UVa will wrestle The Citadel, Kent State and Edinboro.
Probable Virginia Lineup
125 – Matt Snyder
133 – Joe Spisak
141 – Nick Nelson
149 – Derek Valenti
157 – Shawn Harris
165 – Jedd Moore
174 – Chris Henrich
184 – Jon Fausey
197 – Mike Salopek
HWT – Jack Danilkowicz