Virginia Heads to Philadelphia for NCAA Championships
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Virginia wrestling team caps its 2010-11 season Thursday through Saturday at the NCAA Championships, hosted at a sold-out Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Seven Cavaliers, including five natives of the state of Pennsylvania, will compete at the event.
Live video coverage of the Thursday action (11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.) will be available at ESPN3.com. ESPNU will begin television coverage in the Friday sessions (10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.) and also will carry the medal round on Saturday morning (11 a.m.). ESPN will broadcast the championship matches beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Virginia has seven competitors in the 2011 field:
125 pounds – Matt Snyder (Lewistown, Pa.)
133 pounds – Joe Spisak (Boiling Springs, Pa.)
141 pounds – Nick Nelson (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
149 pounds – Derek Valenti (Newton, N.J.)
174 pounds – Chris Henrich (Lansdale, Pa.)
184 pounds – Jon Fausey (Dalmatia, Pa)
285 pounds – Jack Danilkowicz (Green Oaks, Ill.)
Thirty-three competitors will compete at each of the 10 weight classes – 330 wrestlers total. Approximately 105,000 tickets are out for the six sessions.
Led by head coach Steve Garland, Virginia is looking to better its 15th-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships where the Cavaliers scored a school-record 34 points; it was the Cavaliers’ second-best finish at NCAAs, topped only by a 10th-place standing in 1957.
This NCAA Championship event figures to be extremely special for several members of the Virginia squad. The championships are being held in Pennsylvania for the first time since 1999 and for the first time ever in Philadelphia.
Of Virginia’s seven NCAA qualifiers this season, five hail from the state of Pennsylvania, including Henrich, who is a native of the Philadelphia suburb of Lansdale and attended high school at Germantown Academy. Virginia’s only two-time All-American, Henrich is seeded fifth at 174 as he seeks UVa’s first individual wrestling national championship. He took third at 174 at NCAAs last year and owns a 133-18 career record.
Valenti grew up in Newton, N.J., a couple of hours from Philadelphia; it’s a second home to him – his brothers (Andrew and Matt) each wrestled at Penn. The lone Cavalier NCAA qualifier to not come from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area is Danilkowicz, who is from Green Oaks, Ill.
Virginia features four returning NCAA competitors, while three are making their NCAA debuts. Henrich will become the fifth Virginia wrestler to compete at four NCAA Championships, joining Rocco Caponi, Jim Harshaw, Matt Roth and Mike Krafchick.
Danilkowicz, Nelson and Valenti all will be competing at NCAAs for the second time. Snyder, Spisak and Fausey each will be wrestling at NCAAs for the first time.
Virginia’s First-Round Matches (Thursday morning)
125 – Matt Snyder vs. No. 1-seed Anthony Robles (Arizona State)
133 – Joe Spisak vs. Levi Mele (Northwestern)
141 – Nick Nelson vs. Casey Thome (Army)
149 – Derek Valenti vs. Dan Osterman (Michigan State)
174 – No. 5-seed Chris Henrich vs. Eric Starks (Arizona State)
184 – Jon Fausey vs. No. 9-seed Quentin Wright (Penn State)
285 – Jack Danilkowicz vs. Kevin Lester (Columbia)