After opening the season with a hard-fought and competitive loss to a ranked Northwestern team, UVA wrestling picked up its first two victories of the season on the road this weekend. Virginia dominated Queens 44-6 on Friday in Charlotte and then came from behind to win an 18-16 thriller at Campbell on Sunday.
In Friday’s match at Curry Arena at Queens University of Charlotte, Patrick McCormick opened things up with a major decision at 125 pounds. McCormick was one of four Cavaliers to earn major decisions in the match, as Dylan Cedeno (141), Justin Phillips (174), and Neil Antrassian (184) also earned four-point wins for Virginia. Additionally, Jarod Verkleeren (149), Denton Spencer (157), and Michael Battista (197) won via technical fall to score five points each for UVA. Eric Roggie (133) and Justin McCoy (165) each pinned their opponents to bring Virginia’s total to 44 points.
It would have been a shutout win for the Cavaliers if not for an injury default at the heavyweight class by Gabe Christenson, leading to the 44-6 final score.
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Sunday’s match at Campbell began with the 197-pound and heavyweight classes and things couldn’t have started worse for the Cavaliers. Campbell’s Levi Hopkins defeated Michael Battista via major decision at 197 and Jessie Knight fell to No. 13 Taye Ghadiali 10-5 in the heavyweight to give Campbell a 7-0 lead. The Camels went on to win the next three weight classes at 125, 133, and 141 to build a commanding 16-0 advantage at the midway point of the match.
Finally, Jarod Verkleeren got UVA on the board with a 3-1 decision over Chris Rivera in the 149-pound weight class. The tides turned at 157 as Denton Spencer pinned Troy Nation to earn six points for the Cavaliers. Justin McCoy won at 165 and Justin Phillips earned a narrow 2-1 victory at 174 to bring UVA back to within a point at 16-15. The fate of the match came down to Virginia’s Neil Antrassian and Campbell’s Caleb Hopkins at the 184-pound weight class. Antrassian used a crucial takedown to earn a 9-3 win, completing the thrilling comeback as UVA won 18-16.
Now 2-1 on the season, Virginia gets a break for final exams before participating in the Midlands Championships at Northwestern on December 29th and 30th.
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