March 12, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Eight members of the Virginia wrestling team have qualified for the 2014 NCAA Championships, including a program-record five national seeds. The brackets were announced Wednesday for the annual event, which will be held March 20-22 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Virginia's eight qualifiers marks the second most in program history; the Cavaliers had nine qualifiers last year and also had eight in 2010. UVa's Nick Herrmann (So., Amarillo, Texas) earned an at-large berth into the field at 125 pounds on Wednesday afternoon. The remaining seven Cavaliers qualified automatically by virtue of their finishes at the ACC Championships last weekend.
Virginia boasts five national seeds, including third-seeded Nick Sulzer at 165 pounds. He is Virginia's highest seed since Chris Henrich nabbed a No. 3 seed at 174 in 2010. Gus Sako (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) earned the No. 7 seed at 149, while Blaise Butler (R-So., Belvidere, Ill.) is seeded 10th at 157. Stephen Doty (R-Sr., St. Louis, Mo.) picked up the No. 11 seed at 174, and Joe Spisak (R-Jr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) notched the 16th seed at 141.
Jon Fausey (R-Sr., Dalmatia, Pa.) and Zach Nye (R-So., Enola, Pa.) also qualified for the championships at 184 and 197, respectively.
A first-time NCAA competitor, Herrmann (17-10) will wrestle sixth-seeded Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma in the first round at 125. The two wrestled in December at the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational with Patterson winning in a 6-0 decision.
Wrestling in the championships for the second straight year, Spisak (19-12) will take on Laike Gardner of Lehigh in the tournament's first round at 141. This also is a rematch; Gardner topped Spisak, 7-5, on Nov. 30 at the Northeast Duals.
Sako (18-3) will face Robert Jillard of Northern Illinois in the opening round at 149. Sako is making his second NCAA appearance and is seeded for the first time. He also competed at the championships in 2012.
Making his first NCAA appearance, Butler (20-6) will wrestle Rutgers' Anthony Perrotti in the first round at 157. Butler defeated Perrotti, 3-0, on Nov. 30 at the Northeast Duals.
A 2013 NCAA All-American at 165, Sulzer (32-1) will take on Chris Moon of Virginia Tech in the first round. The two wrestled on Nov. 24 in the UVa-Virginia Tech dual in Charlottesville, with Sulzer rolling to a 20-8 major decision. Sulzer's lone loss of the year was a 2-1 decision to Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell on Jan. 2 at the Southern Scuffle; Caldwell is seeded second at the NCAA Championships.
Doty (27-8) also will wrestle a Hokie in the opening round, as he will match up with Austin Gabel at 174. Making his second straight NCAA appearance, Doty beat Gabel twice during the regular season - 4-1 in Charlottesville on Nov. 24 and 4-0 in Las Vegas on Dec. 6.
Fausey (15-9) is slated to wrestle 13th-seeded Jack Dechow of Old Dominion in the first round at 184. Dechow claimed a 3-1 win over Fausey on Jan. 19 in Norfolk. Fausey becomes just the sixth Virginia wrestler to qualify four times for the NCAA Championships; he also qualified at 184 in 2011 and 2012 and 174 in 2013.
A first-time NCAA qualifier, Nye will face fourth-seeded Scott Schiller of Minnesota in the opening round at 197. After advancing to the ACC championship match, Nye enters NCAAs with a 20-9 record.
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