The Virginia wrestling team, ranked No. 23 by InterMat, finishes its 2008 slate of competition Monday and Tuesday at the UNCG Southern Scuffle, hosted by UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. The Southern Scuffle, held on 10 mats and featuring 500 wrestlers, begins at 10 a.m. Monday and continues at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The field once again is loaded, with five ranked teams and three others that are receiving votes. Highlighting the 28-team field are No. 3 Cornell, No. 17 Edinboro, No. 19 Hofstra, No. 21 Old Dominion and No. 23 Virginia. Kent State, Navy and Virginia Tech all are receiving votes.
Also participating in the Southern Scuffle are Appalachian State, Binghamton, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cal State Bakersfield, Campbell, The Citadel, Davidson, Duke, East Stroudsburg, Franklin & Marshall, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, Liberty, Lock Haven, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio, Princeton and UNC Greensboro.
Virginia took sixth place at the 2007 Southern Scuffle, a vast improvement from its 17th-place finish in 2006. Three Cavaliers reached the championship round, with Michael Chaires (Scotia, N.Y.), Rocco Caponi (Uniontown, Ohio) and Brent Jones (Burke, Va.) each earning runner-up finishes at 165, 184 and 197 pounds, respectively. Ross Gitomer (Flemington, N.J.) added a fourth-place finish. Caponi, Jones and Gitomer all are slated to compete this week.
Virginia (4-4 in dual matches) has not competed as a team since going 2-1 at the Journeymen/Brute Northeast Duals on Nov. 29. UVa defeated Harvard (36-11) and Bucknell (30-11) and lost to then-No. 7 Oklahoma State (33-7). All four of the Cavaliers’ defeats have come to ranked opponents.
Chris Henrich (So., Lansdale, Pa.) continued his great start to the 2008-09 season by posting three wins at 174 pounds at the Northeast Duals. Henrich, ranked 12th nationally by InterMat, also won the Cleveland State Open Dec. 14 and ran his record to 16-0 this year. He figures to be tested at the Southern Scuffle, which boasts a field of seven ranked wrestlers at 174 pounds.
Virginia has four wrestlers who currently are ranked by national publications. UVa has four wrestlers in the InterMat rankings Caponi (No. 8 at 184), Henrich (No. 12 at 174), Jones (No. 16 at 197) and Jedd Moore (Fr., Mount Vernon, Ohio No. 20 at 157).
Virginia is off next weekend but starts the 2009 portion of its schedule Jan. 9-10 at the Virginia Duals in Hampton.