Dec. 31, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The 13th-ranked Virginia wrestling team rings in the new year by competing Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 1-2) in the Southern Scuffle at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn. Links to live stats and pay-per-view video are available at VirginiaSports.com.
The tournament annually boasts one of the top fields of any competition throughout the season. Thirty-four teams will compete in the Scuffle, including 10 of the top 25 teams in the current USA Today/NWCA/AWN team rankings - No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Cornell, No. 8 Missouri, No. 12 Pittsburgh, No. 13 Virginia, No. 17 Iowa State, No. 18 Stanford and No. 23 Oregon State.
The field also features Air Force, American, Appalachian State, Arizona State, Army, Boston, Bucknell, Campbell, Central Michigan, Chattanooga, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Drexel, Duke, Hofstra, Kent State, Navy, NC State, North Carolina, Northern Colorado, Ohio, Old Dominion, Penn and South Dakota State.
The impressive field includes 34 former All-Americans as well as eight national finalists.
The top 12 wrestlers in each weight class are seeded. Virginia has seeded wrestlers at seven weight classes - Joseph Martinez (No. 11 at 133), Joe Spisak (No. 12 at 141), Gus Sako (No. 6 at 149), Nick Sulzer (No. 3 at 165), Stephen Doty (No. 5 at 174), Jon Fausey (No. 8 at 184) and Zach Nye (No. 12 at 197).
After winning the 165-pound championship at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 7, Sulzer brings a 13-0 record into the tournament. He is part of an impressive 165 field at the Scuffle - 13 former NCAA qualifiers line the field, including six of the current top 10-ranked wrestlers. Ranked third nationally, Sulzer also will be challenged by the two wrestlers who are ranked ahead of him, No. 1 David Taylor of Penn State and No. 2 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State.
Virginia has not competed as a team since the Las Vegas Invitational, where the Cavaliers took seventh place with 73 points. In addition to Sulzer's top finish, Doty placed third at 174, while Blaise Butler and Ethan Hayes took sixth place at 157 and heavyweight, respectively. Ranked 14th nationally this week at 157, Butler will not compete at the Scuffle as he nurses an injury.
Virginia returns to dual competition Jan. 10-11 at the Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum; UVa took runner-up honors in the tournament last season. The brackets will be announced early next week.
Probable Virginia Lineup
125: Nick Herrmann (7-4) and Will Mason (8-3)
133: Joseph Martinez (7-5)
141: Joe Spisak (7-5) and Justin Van Hoose (8-7)
149: No. 13 Gus Sako (8-0) and Chris Yankowich (9-6)
165: No. 3 Nick Sulzer (13-0)
174: No. 10 Stephen Doty (14-2)
184: Jon Fausey (4-2) and James Suvak (7-6)
197: No. 18 Zach Nye (7-4) and Patrick Gillen (2-4)
285: Ethan Hayes (5-5) and Collin Campbell (5-5)
**Rankings according to AWN
Southern Scuffle Schedule
Wednesday, Jan. 1
9 a.m. - Championship Round of 64
12 p.m. - Championship Round of 32 and 1st Round of Consolations
3 p.m. - 2nd Round of Consolations
5:45 p.m. - Championship Round of 16 - 3rd Round of Consolations
Thursday, Jan. 2
9 a.m. - Championship Quarterfinals
11:30 a.m. - Consolation Round 5
12:30 p.m. - Consolation Round 6
1:30 p.m. - Championship Semifinals and Consolation Quarterfinals
3:30 p.m. - Consolation Semifinals
7 p.m. - Championship Finals and Medal Matches