Cavaliers Head to St. Louis for 2012 NCAA Championships
Virginia at 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Thursday, March 15-Saturday, March 17
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo.
Broadcast: ESPN3, ESPNU and ESPN
Talent: Tim Johnson, Adam Amin & Anthony Robles (ESPNU and ESPN)
Matside: Quint Kessenich
ESPN3 Talent: Jim Gibbons and Shawn Kenney
Championships Schedule (All Times Eastern):
Thursday, March 15
Session I – Noon (Pigtails and First Round)
Session II – 7:30 p.m. (Prelims: Wrestleback Prelims, Wrestleback First Round; Championship Round: Second Round, Consolation Round)
Friday, March 16
Session III – 11 a.m. (Quarterfinals and Wrestlebacks)
Session IV – 7 p.m. (Semifinals and Wrestlebacks)
Saturday, March 17
Session V – 11 a.m. (Wrestleback Semifinals and 3rd-8th Medal Rounds)
Session VI – 7:30 p.m. (Finals and Awards Ceremony)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Six Virginia wrestlers will compete at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships this Thursday through Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to air all six rounds of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship. All six sessions will be streamed on ESPN3.com, which will provide live mat-by-mat coverage of the championships. For individual links to each mat’s live stream, click the link at the top of the page. Both of the Friday sessions and the first session Saturday will be broadcast live on ESPNU, while the Saturday evening session, featuring the championship bouts, will be shown on ESPN.
Virginia’s competitors at the 2012 championships:
125 pounds – No. 11 seed Matt Snyder (R-Jr., Lewistown, Pa.)
133 pounds – Matt Nelson (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.)
141 pounds – No. 7 seed Nick Nelson (R-Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.)
149 pounds – Gus Sako (So., Cleveland, Ohio)
165 pounds – Nick Sulzer (R-Fr., Cleveland, Ohio)
184 pounds – No. 12 seed Jon Fausey (R-So., Dalmatia, Pa.)
Thirty-three competitors will compete at each of the 10 weight classes – 330 wrestlers total. Five Cavaliers earned automatic berths into the field based on their finishes at the ACC Championships, while Sako. UVa has a program-record three top-12 seeded wrestlers in the field this year.
This marks the fourth straight year that at least six UVa wrestlers have qualified for NCAAs (school-record eight in 2010, seven in 2009 and 2011). UVa tied for 23rd with 24 points at the 2011 championships; UVa is aiming for its third-straight top 25 finish, which would be a first in program history. Virginia’s best finish at NCAAs was tied for 10th in 1957.
Twelve Virginia wrestlers have earned All-America honors previously, including Derek Valenti (149) and Chris Henrich (174) in 2011. UVa’s best individual finish is second, by heavyweight Henry Jordan in 1957 and current UVa head coach Steve Garland (125 pounds) in 2000.
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. He owns eight wins against wrestlers in the 2012 NCAA field.
In his first NCAA appearance, Matt Nelson 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.
The ACC champ at 141 pounds, Nick Nelson 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. Nelson is 12-1 this year against wrestlers competing this year at NCAAs.
Sako 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.
Sulzer will wrestle 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.