PITTSBURGH – Junior Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas) paced Virginia on the opening day of competition at the NCAA Championships, picking up a pair of victories to advance to the quarterfinals at PPG Paints Arena.
Mueller will now face fourth-seeded Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State in Friday morning’s quarterfinals. Bresser is a senior who earned All-America honors at the 2018 NCAA Championships with a seventh-place finish. The Oregon State wrestler is 25-1 on the season and claimed the Pac-12 championship two weeks ago.
Mueller is one of three Virginia wrestlers who will continue competition on Friday. Redshirt sophomore Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) and redshirt senior Will Schany (Blair, Neb.) will both compete in the consolation bracket and are still in contention for a podium finish and All-America honors.
Wrestling in Friday morning’s session begins at 11 a.m.
Redshirt freshman Cam Coy (Jeannette, Pa.) and redshirt junior Sam Krivus (Greensburg, Pa.) both went 0-2 on Thursday and were eliminated from the competition.
After the first day of competition, the Cavaliers are tied for 27th in the overall team standings with 6.5 points. Top-ranked Penn State leads with 32.5 points, while Ohio State (25.5 pts), Iowa (24 pts), Minnesota (20 pts) and Oklahoma State (20 pts) round out the top five in the team standings.
“We’re really excited for Jack (Mueller) who is still undefeated and wrestled awesome today,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “He’s got a big showdown Friday with the four seed who is a total stud. The heartbreak of the day was Jay (Aiello) fighting all the way back to take a lead and then giving up an escape right at the end. I’m proud of Jay and the way he competed. We’re excited for Will Schany to continue his quest to finish off his career on a high note. Unfortunately, we had to see two guys end their seasons, but their careers aren’t over so there is still work to be done there.”
Mueller continued his trend of dominant performances this season, winning his opening bout by pinfall before taking his second match by major decision. In his first match, the junior from Virginia pinned Gage Curry in 1:27, marking the fifth time this season he has posted a win by pinfall in the first period. He then secured a spot in Friday morning’s quarterfinals with a 13-3 major decision over 12th-seeded Michael McGee of Old Dominion. Mueller is now 19-0 on the season with 18 bonus-point victories.
Aiello won his first match of the day, taking a 7-2 decision over Anthony McLaughlin of Air Force. In a pitched battle in his second-round match, Aiello fought back in the third period to take an 8-7 lead on 10th-seeded Tom Sleigh of Virginia Tech. With two seconds remaining in the match, Sleigh managed to escape the grasp of Aiello for the tying point and claimed the match with 1:03 of riding time on the clock to give him the riding time point and a 9-8 victory. Aiello will now continue in the consolation bracket on Friday morning, facing ninth-seeded Benjamin Honis of Cornell.
Schany dropped his first match of the day in a tight bout with fourth-seeded Parker Emery of Illinois. The Illini All-American took the 3-2 decision over the Cavalier to send him to the wrestlebacks. Schany then picked up an 8-5 decision over the No. 20 seed, Will Sumner, from Utah Valley to stay alive in the consolation bracket. He will face No. 19 seed Cameron Caffey of Michigan State in Friday morning’s session.
Coy, who faced a pair of top-10 seeds in his two matches, was pinned by eighth-seeded Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech in his first match before dropping a 5-2 decision to No. 9 seed Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley. Krivus also faced a pair of top-10 seeds in his two matches. He dropped his first match when he was pinned by seventh-seeded Mitch McKee of Minnesota before a 2-0 decision by 10th-seeded Nicholas Gil of Navy eliminated him from competition.
No. 5 seed Jack Mueller
Rd 1:Mueller pinned No 28 seed Gage Curry (American), 1:27
Rd 2:Mueller major dec. No. 12 seed Michael McGee (Old Dominion), 13-3
Quarterfinals:Mueller vs. No. 4 seed Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) on Friday
No. 26 seed Sam Krivus
Rd 1:No. 7 seed Mitch McKee (Minnesota) pinned Krivus, 4:59
Conso. Rd 1: No. 10 seed Nicholas Gil (Navy) dec. Krivus, 2-0
No. 25 seed Cam Coy
Rd 1:No. 8 seed Mekhi Lewis (VT) pinned Coy, 6:49
Conso. Rd 1: No. 9 seed Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) dec. Coy, 5-2
No. 29 seed Will Schany
Rd 1:No. 4 seed Emery Parker (Illinois) dec. Schany, 3-2
Conso. Rd 1:Schany dec. No. 20 seed Will Sumner (Utah Valley) 8-5
Conso. Rd 2:Schany vs. No. 19 seed Cameron Caffey (Michigan State) on Friday
No. 7 seed Jay Aiello
Rd 1:Aiello dec. No. 26 seed Anthony McLaughlin (Air Force), 7-2
Rd 2:No. 10 seed Tom Sleigh (VT) dec. Aiello, 9-8
Conso. Rd 2:Aiello vs. No. 9 seed Benjamin Honis (Cornell) on Friday