- The Virginia wrestling team, ranked No. 21 nationally this week by InterMat, returns to dual-meet competition Saturday at the Northeast Duals. The duals will feature the stiffest competition to date for the Cavaliers - UVa will wrestle Columbia at 9:30 a.m., No. 11 Lehigh at 11:15 a.m. and No. 14 Pittsburgh at 2:30 p.m. The matches will be contested at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y.
Four Virginia wrestlers are ranked in the latest InterMat tabulations - No. 2 Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) at 174, No. 14 Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) at 141, No. 19 Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) at 184 and No. 17 Mike Salopek (R-So., North Huntingdon, Pa.) at 197.
Henrich, Salopek and heavyweight Jack Danilkowicz (R-Sr., Green Oaks, Ill.) all figure to be significantly challenged this weekend as Pitt and Lehigh each boast ranked wrestlers at each of these weight classes. Pitt and Lehigh each have five ranked wrestlers this week.
The Cavaliers are off to a 6-0 start in dual-meet competition this season. UVa last competed at The Duals at Hershey on Nov. 13, scoring wins over The Citadel (32-6), then-No. 14 Kent State (18-13) and Edinboro (25-13).
Columbia opened the dual portion of its schedule last weekend at the Disney DI Duals and split a pair of matches, falling to Indiana (22-15) and defeating The Citadel (19-15). Sophomore Nick Mills scored an upset over No. 20 Eric Camerson of Indiana, winning 5-3. This will be the first-ever meeting in wrestling between the Lions and Cavaliers.
Lehigh is ranked as high as 11th nationally (NWCA/USA Today) and stands 15th in the InterMat poll. The Mountain Hawks (3-1) downed then-No. 16 Michigan, 25-6, last Friday at home and also own wins over Drexel and Pittsburgh this year. Their lone loss was a 21-17 defeat against then-No. 6 Penn State. Lehigh has five ranked wrestlers - all at the upper five weight classes - No 13 Brandon Hatchett at 165, No. 16 Austin Meys at 174, No. 9 Robert Hamlin at 184, No. 14 Joe Kennedy at 197 and No. 1 Zach Rey at heavyweight.
The Mountain Hawks own a 3-2 series edge, although Virginia won the last meeting between the schools, 27-9 in 2008.
Pittsburgh is ranked as high as 14th nationally (NWCA/USA Today) and also is 16th in the InterMat poll. The Panthers are coming off a big weekend at the Buckeye Duals last week, where they won at then-No. 12 Ohio State (18-17) and also downed then-No. 14 Nebraska (22-10). Pitt has five ranked wrestlers - No. 20 Anthony Zenetta at 125, No. 3 Tyler Nauman at 141, No. 17 Ethan Headlee at 174, No. 8 Zac Thomusselt at 197 and No. 8 Ryan Tomei at heavyweight.
This will be the first-ever match between Pitt and Virginia.
Following the Northeast Duals the Cavaliers are off from dual competition until Dec. 18 when they travel to Campbell.