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Nov. 23, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team announced the signing of seven wrestlers to a National Letter of Intent for the 2016-17 academic year, head coach Steve Garland announced on Monday (Nov. 23).

The seven signees include three state champions and two nationally-ranked wrestlers with Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.), Sam Martino (Colonial Heights, Va.), Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas), Mike Murphy (Lookout Mountain, Tenn.), Mickey Phillippi (Derry, Pa.), Robert Scherer (Lower Burrell, Pa.) and Jake Shaffer (Latrobe, Pa.) comprising the class.

“We have been talking a lot in the office about how a common trait of guys who developed, and ultimately succeeded at a high level in college, are the kids that are obsessed,” Garland said. “They are obsessed with greatness in all of the day. They can’t stomach mediocrity and burn with a desire to be excellent in all they do. It could be in their classes, the wrestling room, the weight room or just walking down the street. They want to be the best in every situation and that passion fuels their work ethic, commitment and discipline.

“I think we have guys like that in this signing class. I think this group wants to be great and that is why I am excited for them to join our family. I think they are going to push everyone here, including myself.”

Hayes comes to the Cavaliers from Carl Sandburg High School, which finished as runner-up in the 2015 state championships and claimed the 2013 state championship in Illinois. Hayes has been a Fila Junior Freestyle National Champion and a Fila Junior Greco National Champion.

Martino joins the Cavalier program after a successful career at McDonough High School where he claimed the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state championship as a junior in 2015. Martino also finished third at the National Prep Championships.

Murphy comes to Virginia from the Baylor School where he has claimed three consecutive state championships. He has helped Baylor School claim back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015. Murphy also earned Fila Junior National All-America honors.

Mueller has posted a standout career and comes to the Cavaliers from Trinity Christian Academy. A three-time national prep champion, Mueller is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the nation at 120 pounds and is the No. 17 ranked prospect overall by He also is a two-time Fila Junior Freestyle National Champion.

Phillippi also comes to Virginia as one of the top prospects in the nation with a standout career at Derry Area High School. He is a two-time Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) champion and is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the nation at 138 pounds. He is the No. 15 ranked prospect overall by

A state qualifier in the PIAA state championships, Scherer helped Burrell High School advance to the quarterfinals of the state championships in 2015. He posted 39 wins as a junior.

Shaffer, also from Pennsylvania, helped Greater Latrobe High School to a runner-up finish in the state championships in 2014. He finished as a medalist in the PIAA state championships in 2015 after posting a 40-7 record on the season.

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