HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Redshirt junior Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) turned in a runner-up finish at 197 pounds to lead a trio of Cavaliers who placed at the Midlands Championships on Monday night (Dec. 30) at the Sears Centre Arena. Redshirt junior Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.) finished sixth at 133 pounds, while redshirt freshman Victor Marcelli (Massillon, Ohio) finished in seventh at 174 pounds.
Virginia finished 11th in the overall team standings with 59 points for the event. Iowa won the event with 196.5 points, while Northern Iowa finished second with 101 points and Illinois finished third with 94.5 points.
“Once again we competed at one of the top tournaments in the nation,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “It was really exciting and our guys learned a lot. I’m really happy for Jay (Aiello) and Louie (Hayes) in particular. They both showed tremendous growth from Las Vegas (at the Cliff Keen Invitational) and we will be a better team moving forward because of this event.”
After going undefeated in the first day of action, Aiello posted a big win in the semifinals, taking a 9-7 decision over second-ranked Jacob Warner of Iowa to advance to the finals. Aiello grabbed the decision with a takedown in the sudden-victory overtime period after the match was tied 7-7 at the end of regulation. He then dropped a 7-3 decision to No. 8 Christian Brunner of Purdue in the finals.
The match with Brunner was a rematch of an earlier meeting in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, a bout that Brunner also won by a 4-2 decision.
Hayes took his sixth place finish after going 2-2 on the day with two matches coming against opponents ranked in the top-11 nationally. The 133-pound redshirt junior won his first two matches of the day, defeating Northern Iowa’s Jack Scudlarczyk in an 8-1 decision before taking a 6-4 decision over Northwestern’s Colin Valdiviez. Hayes faced ninth-ranked Travis Piotrowski of Illinois in the consolation semifinals, a 6-4 decision for the Illini, before facing No. 11 Noah Gonser of Campbell in the fifth-place match. Gonser got a reversal in the second period and used an escape in the third to break the stalemate and claim a 3-2 decision over Hayes.
Marcelli took the seventh-place finish after going 2-1 on the day. He won his first match of the day with a 2-0 decision over Princeton’s Nathan Dugan before dropping his second match in a 3-2 decision to Donnell Washington of Indiana. The redshirt freshman secured the seventh-place finish when his opponent for the finals, Tyler Morland of Northwestern, medically forfeited.
Murphy found himself in a tight battle with Ohio’s Alec Hagan in his first match of the day. The low-scoring affair sat at 2-2 at the end of regulation despite several shots from Murphy that were turned away by the Bobcat wrestler. In the sudden victory period, Hagan got to the legs of Murphy for the takedown and the 4-2 decision.
Like Murphy, Keating found himself in a tight battle with Izzak Olejnick of Northern Illinois to start the day. The Virginia wrestler erased his early deficit and took the lead off a takedown with a little over a minute remaining in the match. He erased the riding time advantage for the Saluki wrestler, but Olejnik was able to get a reversal in the final 20 seconds of the bout to take the 6-5 decision over Keating.
Virginia will return to action the weekend of Jan. 10-11, 2020, when the Cavaliers travel to compete at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Va.
No. 18 Louie Hayes
R32: Hayes dec. Gavin Teasdale (Iowa), 3-1
R16: Hayes pinned Savion Haywood (Omega TC), 5:36
QF: No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) major dec. Hayes, 15-5
Conso. R8-2: Hayes dec. Jack Scudlarczyk (N. Iowa), 8-1
Conso. R4: Hayes dec. Colin Valdiviez (Northwestern), 6-4
Conso. Semis: No. 9 Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) dec. Hayes, 6-4
5th-Place Match: Hayes vs. No. 11 Noah Gonser (Campbell)
Michael Murphy – DONE
R64: Murphy dec. Danny Fongara (NYCRTC), 7-4
R32: Murphy major dec. McCoy Kent (N. Illinois), 10-2
R16: Murphy dec. Graham Rooks (Indiana), 4-3
QF: Vincent Turk (Iowa) major dec. Murphy, 11-1
Conso. R8-2: Alec Hagan (Ohio) dec. Murphy, 4-2 (sv-1)
Jake Keating (Competing Unattached) – DONE
R32: Keating dec. Nick South (Indiana), 6-4
R16: Keating dec. No. 11 Cael McCormick (Army), 8-6
QF: No. 15 Zachary Hartman (Bucknell) major dec. Keating, 13-0
Conso. R8-2: Izzak Olejnik (N. Illinois) dec. Keating, 6-5
Victor Marcelli – 7th Place Finish
R32: Marcelli dec. DJ Shannon (Illinois), 5-1 (TB-1)
R16: Marcelli dec. Kevin Parker (Princeton), 4-0
QF: No. 5 Bryce Steiert (N. Iowa) dec. Marcelli, 4-0
Conso. R8-2: Marcelli dec. Nathan Dugan (Princeton), 2-0
Conso. R4: Donnell Washington (Indiana) dec. Marcelli, 3-2
7th-Place Match: Marcelli over Tyler Morland (Northwestern) by medical forfeit
No. 16 Jay Aiello – 2nd Place Finish
R32: Aiello pinned Danny Balderas (Omega TC), 4:43
R16: Aiello dec. JT Brown (Army), 5-3
QF: Aiello dec. Alexander Hopkins (Army), 6-5 (TB-1)
SF: Aiello dec. No. 2 Jacob Warner (Iowa), 9-7 (sv-1)
FINAL: No. 8 Christian Brunner (Purdue) dec. Aiello, 7-3
* Sunday’s matches listed in italics