Wrestling Names Team Award Winners at Season Banquet
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team celebrated its successful 2010-11 season Sunday during its year-end banquet and recognized several members of the squad with awards. All-Americans Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) and Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.) shared the Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Virginia won a school-record 19 dual matches during the 2010-11 season and finished in 23rd place at the NCAA Championships. Ten Cavaliers won 20 or matches each during the season.
Henrich went 35-5 this year and finished his career as the most decorated wrestler in Virginia history. He concluded his career with a 136-21 record after taking sixth place at the 2011 NCAA Championships. The all-time wins leader at Virginia, Henrich is the program’s only three-time All-American.
Valenti made a remarkable turnaround in becoming Virginia’s 13th All-American. He started his season 12-11 before rattling off 15 wins in his last 19 matches to finish 27-15. Valenti was one of just seven unseeded wrestlers to earn All-America honors at the championships this year. He suffered three losses at NCAAs – to the Nos. 2, 3 and 5 seeds, with all coming by three points or fewer. He also was the ACC runner-up at 149 pounds.
Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.) picked up the Mike Krafchick Academic Achievement Award. With a 3.77 cumulative grade-point average, Snyder was named to the All-ACC Academic Wrestling Team for the second-straight season. Next year he will live on the Lawn at UVa, one of the premier honors accorded for any student at the University. He has aspirations of attending medical school after college.
Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned the John Pegues Character Award. Nelson finished 11-3 while battling through an injury-plagued season. He started the season 7-0 before suffering an injury in practice in November. Nelson returned in late February, then took third at the ACC Championships to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Nelson serves as the president of Virginia’s chapter of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) was named the team’s Freshman of the Year. Fausey went 29-10 this year during his redshirt freshman season at 184 pounds. He took third at the ACC Championships in earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships. He also was an All-ACC Academic Team selection this season.
Mike Salopek (R-So., North Huntingdon, Pa.) notched the Kevin Michaels Heart and Guts Award. Salopek battled through a season full of injuries to go 11-6. He was 10-4 in duals, including 4-0 in ACC competition. He was nationally ranked for most of the season but competed sparingly down the stretch while dealing with his injuries.
Stephen Doty (So., St. Louis, Mo.) earned the Hardest Worker Award. Competing at three different weight classes this season, Doty posted an impressive 25-9 record, with five falls. His top win of the year came against ACC runner-up Diego Bencomo, who went on to reach the quarterfinals at the NCAA Championships. Doty defeated Bencomo 7-5 in sudden-victory time.
Joe Spisak (Fr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) claimed the Freshman Academic Achievement Award. He currently owns a 3.5 grade-point average and was named to the All-ACC Academic Wrestling Team. Spisak was an NCAA qualifier at 133 pounds and went 23-16 during his rookie campaign.
Gus Sako (Fr., Cleveland, Ohio) picked up the 11th Man Award. Sako racked up 24 wins during his freshman season. He started the season at 133 pounds before shifting to 141 after Nelson suffered an injury in November. Sako finished with four falls, three tech falls and three major decisions.
2010-11 Virginia Wrestling Award Winners
Freshman of the Year – Jon Fausey
Hardest Worker – Stephen Doty
Mike Krafchick Academic Achievement Award – Matt Snyder
Freshman Academic Achievement Award – Joe Spisak
Kevin Michaels “Heart and Guts Award” – Mike Salopek
John Pegues “Character Award” – Nick Nelson
11th Man Award – Gus Sako
Outstanding Wrestler Award – Derek Valenti and Chris Henrich