No. 24 Wrestling Heads to Northeast Duals Saturday


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The No. 24 Virginia wrestling team continues its tough November schedule Saturday, competing in the Journeymen/Brute Northeast Duals at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. In UVa’s opener at 11 a.m., the Cavaliers will take on No. 7 Oklahoma State for the first time in program history. At 1:15 p.m., UVa and Bucknell square off, and the Cavaliers conclude the day against Harvard at 3:15 p.m.

Virginia (2-3) went 1-1 Sunday at the Sprawl and Brawl Duals, falling 19-15 to No. 14 Penn State and defeating American International, 52-0.

The UVa-PSU match was tight throughout and went down to the final contest at heavyweight. Both teams won five bouts, but the Nittany Lions benefited from bonus points at 133 pounds and 149 pounds to earn the win. UVa fell into a 9-0 hole after two weight classes before Nick Nelson (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored a 4-2 win over 2008 All-American Jake Strayer at 141 pounds.

UVa rallied and got to within one point with one class to go, thanks in large part to three decisions over ranked Penn State wrestlers, including a win by freshman Jedd Moore (Mount Vernon, Ohio) over No. 2 Dan Vallimont at 157 pounds. Moore was honored this week as the ACC Wrestler of the Week.

Against AIC, UVa won six bouts by fall, two by major decision and one by technical fall in racking up the third-highest point total in school history.

Virginia has three wrestlers ranked this week according to InterMat. Rocco Caponi (Sr., Uniontown, Ohio) is No. 8 at 184 pounds, Chris Henrich (So., Lansdale, Pa.) is No. 14 at 174 and Ross Gitomer (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) is No. 17 at 125. In addition, Brent Jones (Jr., Burke, Va.) is ranked as high as ninth nationally in two other national publications.

Oklahoma State, 34-time NCAA team champions, enters Saturday with a 1-0 dual mark after a 30-9 home win over No. 20 Old Dominion last weekend in Stillwater. The Cowboys boast ranked wrestlers at six of the 10 weight classes, including top-ranked Jared Rosholt at heavyweight. OSU also has Obe Blanc (No. 6 at 125), Tyler Shinn (No. 11 at 133), Newly McFadden (No. 12 at 157), Brandon Mason (No. 10 at 165) and Clayton Foster (No. 18 at 197) who are ranked by InterMat.

Bucknell has dropped its two duals this year, but both were close. The Bison lost 25-16 to No. 5 Missouri and 21-15 to Army. Bucknell has two of its wrestlers in the current InterMat rankings Dave Marble, who is No. 14 at 133, and Andy Rendos, who is No. 14 at 165. UVa is 4-2 all-time against the Bison, with the last meeting coming in 2002.

In the finale Saturday, Virginia takes on Harvard, which is receiving votes in the InterMat team rankings. The Crimson is competing in its first dual matches of 2008 on Saturday and has three wrestlers ranked in the InterMat Top 20 Cory Jantzen (No. 20 at 141), J.P. O’Connor (No. 4 at 157) and Louis Caputo (No. 4 at 184). Caputo competed at the prestigious NWCA All-Star Classic on Monday and suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to No. 3 Phil Keddy of Iowa.

Virginia and Harvard have met just twice, with the Crimson taking both of the previous duals. The programs last met in 1972.

Following the Northeast Duals, Virginia is off for a month from team competition. UVa’s next tournament is Dec. 29-30 at the Southern Scuffle in Greensboro, N.C. The Cavaliers’ next dual matches will be Jan. 9-10 at the Virginia Duals in Hampton.