AKRON, Ohio –Four members of the Virginia wrestling team placed at the U23 World Team Trials over the weekend at the Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House at the University of Akron.
Yamin Kamali (Lansing, Mich.), Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.), Jake Keating (Naperville, Ill.) and Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) all placed at the event. Aiello and Hayes both finished third at their weight classes, while Keating finished fourth place and Kamali finished eighth.
“The process for our program is actually pretty simple,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “We want to enjoy the process. We want to have fun coming into the room and focus on getting better. We want our guys to be incremental improvers and continuous learners. What helps in that process is having great competitions that the guys look forward to and keep pushing them through the off-season months.
“We want our guys to love competition and learn to compete in such a way every time they step on the mat. This (weekend) was a big part in that process. We are really proud of the guys wrestling and I think we are showing the development is there with our guys and our team is getting better week to week. Our goal was to have guys on the world team and we came just short of that. However, that does not negate the improvement we are seeing in the growth of our family. I definitely want to thank Trent Paulson for putting together a great RTC schedule and freestyle training for this program.”
Aiello, the sixth seed at 97kg, took third place with a 5-1 record on the day that included a pair of wins over the third-seeded wrestler and a win over the fourth-seeded wrestler. His only defeat of the day came at the hands of second-seeded Michael Boykin in the semifinals.
Hayes, the fifth-seeded wrestler at 61 kg, took a third place finish with 6-1 record on the afternoon that included wins over the sixth-seeded wrestler and the fourth-seeded wrestler. His only loss of the day came to the top-seed, Charles Tucker, in the semifinals.
Keating went 7-2 on the afternoon with his only two losses coming at the hands of second-seeded Matthew Kolodzik. Keating and Kolodzik met in the quarterfinals and the third-place bout.
Kamali took home his eighth-place finish with a 4-3 performance on the afternoon that included a win over fifth-seeded Cevion Severado. He then fell to fourth-seeded Danny Vega in the quarterfinals before coming back through the wrestlebacks for the eighth-place finish.
In all, 14 Virginia wrestlers competed in the event.