Virginia’s Eric Albright (Jr., York, Pa.) and Rocco Caponi (Jr., Uniontown, Ohio) each won championships to highlight the Virginia wrestling team’s day Sunday at the Nittany Lion Open, held at Penn State’s Rec Hall in State College, Pa. Albright and Caponi each won six-consecutive matches to secure their titles. The Cavaliers finished impressively with placewinners at eight of the 10 weight classes.
Caponi, ranked eighth nationally in the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings, improved to 17-0 this season with his second open championship of the season (Binghamton Open), highlighted by two falls and a major decision. The major decision was a 9-1 win over 18th-ranked Ryan Bomberger of Penn State. He clinched the title with a 7-2 win in the final over Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore.
Ranked ninth nationally, Albright scored his first open title of the season and improved to 10-1 this year. Albright earned a hard-fought, 3-2 win over No. 12 Mike Grey of Cornell in the final.
Shawn Harris (Fr., Cleveland, Ohio) earned a third-place finish at 149 pounds, the best finish of his young career. Harris had five wins on the day and earned two falls to improve to 13-4 this year.
Kyle Artusio (Jr., Winchester, Va.) and Brent Jones (Jr., Burke, Va.) nabbed fourth place at 157 and 197 pounds, respectively. Artusio had a career day with his best-ever open finish while notching four wins. Jones posted two falls and a decision before falling to No. 15 Joe Williams of Michigan State in the semifinals.
Michael Chaires (Fr., Scotia, N.Y.) took fifth place at 165 pounds after going 6-1 in the competition, while Ross Gitomer (So., Flemington, N.J.) and Nick Nelson (Fr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) took sixth place at 125 and 141 pounds, respectively. Each posted five wins Sunday. Nelson fell to the consolation bracket after a tough 3-0 loss to second-ranked Jake Strayer of Penn State in the quarterfinals.
The open marks the final competition for the Cavaliers before they embark on finals week and the holiday season. Virginia will have 27 days off before its next competition, the Southern Scuffle, Dec. 29-30 in Greensboro, N.C.