Danilkowicz, Spisak Earn NCAA At-Large Berths
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia heavyweight Jack Danilkowicz (R-Sr., Green Oaks, Ill.) and 133-pounder Joe Spisak (Fr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) each have earned at-large bids to the 2011 NCAA Championships, as announced Wednesday by the NCAA Wrestling Committee. The full brackets for the championships also were unveiled Wednesday. The championships will be contested March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Virginia will have seven competitors at the championships – second most in program history. Five Virginia wrestlers earned automatic NCAA berths by virtue of their respective finishes last Saturday at the ACC Championships – Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.) at 125 pounds, Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) at 141, Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.) at 149, Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) at 174 and Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) at 184.
Fausey, Snyder and Spisak all will be making their first NCAA appearances. Danilkowicz, Nelson and Valenti each have qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second time, while Henrich will be wrestling for the fourth time at NCAAs.
For the third straight year, Henrich earned a national seed at 174 pounds. He is seeded fifth and will wrestle Arizona State’s Eric Starks in the first round Thursday. Henrich scored a 10-2 major decision over Starks at the Virginia Duals in January.
Snyder has been paired with top-seeded Anthony Robles of Arizona State in the first round at 125 pounds. Robles defeated Snyder at the Virginia Duals earlier this season.
Spisak will wrestle Northwestern’s Levi Mele in the opening round at 133.
After redshirting last season, Nelson makes his return to the championships with an opening-round bout with Casey Thome of Army. Nelson came within one win of All-America status in 2009.
Valenti will wrestle Michigan State’s Dan Osterman in the first round.
Fausey will take on ninth-seeded Quentin Wright of Penn State to start the championships. Fausey wrestled Wright once last season in open competition at the Nittany Lion Open, with Wright winning 5-3.
Danilkowicz will face Columbia’s Kevin Lester in the first round. Danilkowicz also is familiar with his first foe, having defeated Lester 14-6 earlier this season in the Cavaliers’ dual with Columbia at the Northeast Duals.
Virginia finished 15th at the 2010 NCAA Championships, the program’s second-best finish.