Six Cavaliers Qualify for NCAA Championships
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Six Virginia wrestlers will compete at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships, scheduled for March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Five Cavaliers earned automatic berths into the field based on their finishes at the 2012 ACC Championships, while Gus Sako (So., Cleveland, Ohio) was awarded an at-large berth into the 149-pound field on Wednesday.
Three Cavaliers earned top-12 national seeds. Matt Snyder (R-Jr., Lewistown, Pa.) is the No. 11 seed at 125 pounds, Nick Nelson (R-Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned the No. 7 seed at 141 and Jon Fausey (R-So., Dalmatia, Pa.) is seeded No. 12 at 184 pounds.
Coming off an ACC championship at 125, Snyder (22-3) will wrestle Johnni DiJulius (19-13) of Ohio State in the first round. Snyder will be competing at the NCAA championships for the second-consecutive year; he reached the round of 12 last year, falling one win shy of All-America status.
In his first NCAA appearance, Matt Nelson (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) will wrestle No. 7 seed A.J. Schopp (36-4) of Edinboro at 133. Nelson (17-5) earned an automatic berth into the tournament after a third-place finish at the ACC championships.
Nick Nelson (R-Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.), the ACC champion at 141 pounds, will take on Mike Kessler (32-11) of Appalachian State in the first round. Nelson wrestled Kessler on Feb. 11 in a dual at ASU and handed Kessler a 3-0 defeat. Nelson will be competing in the NCAA championships for the third time; he reached the round of 12 at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
After receiving an at-large berth into the championships today, Gus Sako (So., Cleveland, Ohio) will wrestle second-seeded Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State in the first round. Sako (21-6) placed third at the ACC championships and will be competing at the NCAA event for the first time. A reigning All-American, Parks holds a 30-0 record entering the championships.
Nick Sulzer (R-Fr., Cleveland, Ohio) will face the winner of the pigtail match between No. 7 seed Josh Asper (24-1) of Maryland and Mark Lewandowski (28-6) of Buffalo. A first-time NCAA qualifier, Sulzer (25-7) has wrestled each of his potential first-round foes already this year, dropping 4-3 decisions in both bouts. Sulzer’s brother, Aaron, will wrestle in the 157-pound class at NCAAs for Eastern Michigan.
Fresh off his ACC championship at 184 pounds, Fausey (21-3) will take on Ian Hinton (20-14) of Michigan State in the opening round. Fausey will be competing at NCAAs for the second-straight season. He went 2-2 last year at the event in Philadelphia.
Virginia is aiming for its third-consecutive top-25 team finish at the NCAA championships. UVa took 15th in 2010 and tied for 23rd last season.
The ESPN family of networks will showcase more than 50 hours of coverage across multiple platforms. The full schedule:
Thursday, March 15
First Round: Noon – ESPN3
Second Round: 7:30 p.m. – ESPN3
Friday, March 16
Quarterfinals: 11 a.m. – ESPNU/ESPN3
Semifinals: 7 p.m. – ESPNU/ESPN3
Saturday, March 17
Medal Round: 11 a.m. – ESPNU/ESPN3
Championship Matches: 7:30 p.m. – ESPN/ESPN3
(all times Eastern)