Cavaliers Open 2011-12 Season Saturday at Mem Gym
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team opens its 2011-12 season Saturday at home with a pair of duals at Memorial Gymnasium. The Cavaliers will take on Campbell at 10:30 a.m. and Anderson at noon. There is no admission charge to home UVa matches at Mem Gym.
Live results will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
The day kicks off at 9 a.m., as Anderson and Campbell will match up in a neutral-site match.
UVa is ranked as high as 17th nationally in the preseason national rankings. The Cavaliers are 17th in the InterMat preseason tournament-strength rankings and 22nd in the NWCA/USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Virginia returns 13 letterwinners and eight NCAA qualifiers this season. UVa went 19-7 in dual meets last year before taking third place at the ACC Championships and 23rd at the NCAA Championships. It marked the Cavaliers’ second straight top 25 finish at the NCAA meet.
Virginia has five wrestlers ranked in the preseason InterMat rankings – Matt Snyder (R-Jr., Lewistown, Pa.) is seventh at 125 pounds, Nick Nelson (R-Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) is 16th at 141, Derek Valenti (Sr., Newton, N.J.) is fourth at 149, Jon Fausey (R-So., Dalmatia, Pa.) stands 17th at 184 and Mike Salopek (R-Jr., North Huntingdon, Pa.) is 20th at 197. Snyder reached the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships last year, while Nelson, Valenti and Fausey joined him at NCAAs.
Freshman standouts Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio) and Derek Papagianopoulos (Burlington, Mass.) each move into the starting lineup at 165 pounds and heavyweight, respectively, after great redshirt seasons. Both earned freestyle All-America honors in the spring and had strong records in open tournaments during the 2010-11 season.
UVa also welcomes back senior Matt Nelson (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who will wrestle for the first time in college on Saturday after missing the past four years because of concussion symptoms. He has had a strong preseason and is slated to be in the lineup at 133 pounds Saturday.
UVa will be matching up with Campbell for the fifth straight season and has won each of the previous bouts. The Cavaliers captured all 10 matches in a 53-0 triumph last year at Campbell, which finished the year with a 4-19 dual record. The Camels’ assistant coach is Rocco Caponi, who is a Virginia graduate and was a three-time ACC champion while wearing a Cavalier singlet.
The Cavaliers also hold a 4-0 series edge over Anderson. The programs matched up last year in the season opener in Charlottesville, with UVa picking up a 41-6 victory. Anderson posted an 8-14 record in 2010-11.
UVa travels to the NC State Open on Nov. 13 before heading to Cornell’s Body Bar Invitational on Nov. 19. The Cavaliers return to Charlottesville on Sunday, Nov. 27, when they take on Virginia Tech in a battle of top-20 teams at John Paul Jones Arena. Tickets currently are on sale for this match.
Virginia Probable Starters
125: Matt Snyder
133: Matt Nelson/Joseph Martinez
141: Nick Nelson/Sam MacGregor
149: Shawn Harris/David Wesley
157: Jedd Moore/Nicky Gordon
165: Nick Sulzer
174: Billy Coggins
184: Jon Fausey/Nick Kidd
197: Ryan Malo
285: Derek Papagianopoulos/Ethan Hayes