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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team split a pair of duals Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium, dropping an 18-15 match against No. 21 Penn before rebounding to rout VMI, 41-3. The Cavaliers are now 13-5 in duals this season.

“I am really proud of our guys’ effort today,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. “They battled their tails off and showed a lot of heart all day. I thought we competed hard and wrestled very well. We pushed a really tough Penn team to the limit; we were disappointed to not come out with a win there, but we couldn’t have wrestled any harder.”

Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.), Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) and Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) each won both of their matches at 149, 174 and 184 pounds, respectively. Henrich pushed his school-record win total to 123 while improving to 71-4 career in dual matches.

UVa dropped seven individual matches Sunday – all by decision, with four coming by two points or fewer.

The Penn-UVa match was a dogfight throughout. Penn, with nationally ranked wrestlers at each of the first three weight classes, grinded out wins at each of those weights and benefited from a team penalty point against UVa to take an early 10-point lead.

At 125, Penn’s Mark Rappo scored an early takedown against Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.), then added a later takedown and took a 4-2 lead into the second period. Snyder rode Rappo for the entire second period, but could not snag the needed takedown in the final period, and despite having 1 minute, 37 seconds of riding time, Snyder fell 4-3. During the 125 bout UVa also lost one team point on a misconduct penalty.

At 133, fourth-ranked Rollie Peterkin led the entire way over Joe Spisak (Fr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) and was on the verge of a major decision before Spisak reversed him in the waning seconds of the third period. Peterkin picked up the riding time point to claim a 9-3 decision. Gus Sako (Fr., Cleveland, Ohio) then went down to the final moments at 141 against No. 9 Zach Kemmerer before falling 7-5. Through three weight classes Penn held a 9 to -1 lead.

Virginia broke through at 149. Valenti needed just one point to secure the win, getting it after escaping from down position to start the third period. He defended well the rest of the way in earning a 1-0 win over Andrew Lenzi.

UVa then earned bonus points at 157 as Nicky Gordon (R-Fr., Kingston, Pa.) won by technical fall over Jordan Michelson. Gordon scored his first takedown just a few seconds into the first period and never let up, sealing the 20-5 tech fall just 14 seconds into the third period.

Jedd Moore (R-So., Mount Vernon, Ohio) made his season debut at 165 against No. 20 Gabriel Burak and led for much of the match. Moore picked up an early takedown in the first before giving up an escape. Burak rode Moore for all of the second period, then took Moore down early in the third. Burak racked up 2:40 in riding time and held off Moore’s late reversal attempts to secure the 4-2 decision.

UVa then picked up consecutive major decisions at 174 and 184 to forge ahead, 15-12. Ranked No. 4 nationally at 174, Henrich jumped out to a big early lead in a 14-6 major decision against Canaan Bethea. Jon Fausey, ranked No. 20 at 184, scored a takedown with eight seconds remaining in the third period to seal the major decision and win, 10-2, against Erich Smith.

Penn knotted the score when sixth-ranked Micah Burak grinded out an 8-3 win over Mike Salopek (R-So., North Huntingdon, Pa.), and the Quakers picked up the deciding points at heavyweight. Kyle Cowan scored the first takedown with just two seconds left in the first period against Jack Danilkowicz (R-Sr., Green Oaks, Ill.) and then added an escape point in the second. Danilkowicz escaped for a point in the third; he fell short in his takedown attempts in the final minute, and Cowan picked up a takedown in the final seconds to secure a 5-1 win and the team victory.

As tight as the first match was throughout nearly every individual contest, the second match was rarely close. Virginia won nine of the 10 bouts, with seven of the victories bringing the Cavaliers bonus points. UVa’s lone loss came at heavyweight, where Danilkowicz took 14th-ranked Josh Wine to double overtime before falling 5-3.

Snyder got UVa off to a great start, needing just 3:56 to secure a 16-0 tech fall over John Pope. Spisak then continued things with a pin of Luke Todd in 2:06. It was Spisak’s team-leading seventh fall of the year.

Sako jumped out to a 7-3 lead against David Yost at 141 pounds before giving up a third-period takedown, then held off Goodsell’s late takedown attempt just before the final buzzer to win 7-5 and give the Cavaliers a 14-0 team lead.

Valenti was dominating in a 15-2 major decision over Ryan Goodsell at 149 pounds, and Shawn Harris (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) then racked up 4:19 in riding time in cruising to an 8-1 decision over Nick Emison at 157.

Moore needed only 43 seconds against the Keydets’ Ted Gottawald to record his first win of the year as he pinned Gottwald. Henrich then dominated Matt Brock at 174, quickly taking him down in the first period, then twice tilting him for three-point near falls. He ended it in the second period, reversing Brock, then picking up another three-point near fall before adding two back points at the 4:36 mark to finish off the tech fall.

Fausey racked up 4:00 in riding time against John Dommert at 184 pounds in a 14-1 major decision; Fausey upped his record to 19-6 this season. Salopek, after nearly 90 seconds without scoring to start his match at 197 with Chris Gill, went off the rest of the period, scoring a takedown and three three-point near falls. Salopek finished off the tech fall 1:18 into the second for a 16-0 win and a 41-0 team lead.

VMI picked up its lone win at heavyweight in a marathon match. Danilkowicz and Wine were tied at one through the first sudden victory period. Danilkowicz was awarded a penalty point at the start of the first tiebreaker because a misconduct penalty by Wine. While Danilkowicz did not escape from Wine in the first 30-second tiebreaker, Wine was able to escape in the second 30 seconds to tie the score at 2. After another scoreless sudden victory period, Wine scored a quick escape point and added a late takedown in the second tiebreaker. Danilkowicz notched an escape point in the next tiebreaker but could not come up with a takedown to tie the match, allowing Wine to finish with the 5-3 decision.

In a neutral-site match to start the day, Penn topped VMI, 33-6.

Virginia returns to ACC competition next Friday (Jan. 21) with a 5 p.m. match at North Carolina. UVa’s next home match is Jan. 28 against No. 13 Rutgers.

No. 21 Penn 18, Virginia 15
125: Mark Rappo (Penn) dec. Matt Snyder (UVa), 4-3; UVa -1, Penn 3
**UVa assessed one team penalty point
133: No. 4 Rollie Peterkin (Penn) dec. Joe Spisak (UVa), 9-3; UVa -1, Penn 6
141: No. 9 Zach Kemmerer (Penn) dec. Gus Sako (UVa), 7-5; UVa -1, Penn 9
149: Derek Valenti (UVa) dec. Andrew Lenzi (Penn), 1-0; UVa 2, Penn 9
157: Nicky Gordon (UVa) tech fall Jordan Michelson (Penn), 20-5; UVa 7, Penn 9
165: No. 20 Stephen Burak (Penn) dec. Jedd Moore (UVa), 4-2; UVa 7, Penn 12
174: No. 4 Chris Henrich (UVa) major dec. Canaan Bethea (Penn), 14-6; UVa 11, Penn 12
184: No. 20 Jon Fausey (UVa) major dec. Erich Smith (Penn), 10-2; UVa 15, Penn 12
197: No. 7 Micah Burak (Penn) dec. Mike Salopek, 8-3; UVa 15, Penn 15
285: Kyle Cowan (Penn) dec. Jack Danilkowicz (UVa), 5-1; UVa 15, Penn 18

Virginia 41, VMI 3
125: Matt Snyder (UVa) tech fall Johnathan Pope (VMI), 16-0 (3:56); UVa 5, VMI 0
133: Joe Spisak (UVa) pinned Luke Todd (VMI), 2:06; UVa 11, VMI 0
141: Gus Sako (UVa) dec. David Yost (VMI), 7-5; UVa 14, VMI 0
149: Derek Valenti (UVa) major dec. Ryan Goodsell (VMI), 15-2; UVa 18, VMI 0
157: Shawn Harris (UVa) dec. Nick Emison (VMI), 8-1; UVa 21, VMI 0
165: Jedd Moore (UVa) pinned Ed Gottwald (VMI), :43; UVa 27, VMI 0
174: No. 4 Chris Henrich (UVa) tech fall Matt Brock (VMI), 15-0 (4:36); UVa 32, VMI 0
184: No. 20 Jon Fausey (UVa) major dec. John Dommert (VMI), 14-1; UVa 36, VMI 0
197: Mike Salopek (UVa) tech fall Chris Gill (VMI), 16-0; 4:18; UVa 41, VMI 0
285: No. 14 Josh Wine (VMI) dec. Jack Danilkowicz (UVa), 5-3 (2-SV); UVa 41, VMI 3

Rankings according to InterMat

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