Wrestling hosts Maryland, Lock Haven
Cavaliers look to rebound after losses against Michigan, Central Michigan
After coming off two disappointing losses, the Virginia wrestling team is returning home to host a tri-meet Sunday against Maryland and Lock Haven at Memorial Gymnasium.
The team was happy to start the season well at the Clarion Open and see all of the work the wrestlers put in during the offseason pay off.
“We started the year really well,” coach Steve Garland said. “With four champions at the opening tournament of the year, the Clarion Open, and seven in the finals, so any time you can get seven of your 10 guys in a position to get a championship at a tournament, you feel good about that.”
The team, however, faced a reality check during its trip to Michigan that showed the Cavaliers still have quite a lot of work to do.
“We went to Michigan and the competition level was kicked way up,” Garland said. “With two nationally ranked teams in a row, with Michigan being a top-10 team and Central Michigan being ranked as high as 17th … I think we saw a lot of good and a lot of bad. The good was that we had guys in a position to knock off all-Americans … and we saw the emergence of freshman Jack Mueller and what an incredible weekend he put together.”
Taking the good and bad into consideration, the Cavaliers need to move forward with an eye towards improvement. They need to work on refining their technique and gaining that extra edge of grit that will help them win the close matches.
“Technically, there is too much to talk about,” Garland said. ”I think the biggest thing is getting close wins, finding ways to grit out those close ones in the end because we’ve lost those in the past. As much as we can teach, the guys have to make a decision to get those wins, so that’s why you keep competing.”
Looking forward to this weekend’s meet against Lock Haven and Maryland, Virginia needs to work on putting everything together.
These teams are not as strong as Michigan and Central Michigan, but they represent a good measuring stick for Virginia to see where they really rank on the national stage.
“Lock Haven is led by a guy who's an alumnus, Scott Moore, who was my assistant coach for four years,” Garland said. “I would say he’s one of the hardest working coaches I’ve been around. This is one of the better teams he’s had in recent memory and they’re coming in here expecting to beat us and so we absolutely have to be ready to go with those guys, and I think this meet is going to come down to bonus points.”
Maryland is a team Virginia is familiar with from its time in the ACC. Winning against Maryland could be a massive confidence booster going forward.
“Maryland was a thorn in our flesh for a number of years when they were here in the ACC,” Garland said. “They beat us by one bout two years in a row in the ACC championship. It was two of the closest races in the history of the ACC Tournament, so we know them all too well. And they are one of the better teams they’ve had in recent memory. They’re nothing like they were last year, I think they’re a much better team and they will pose a serious threat to us.”
This Sunday, Virginia is set to take on Lock Haven at 1 p.m., followed immediately by a match against Maryland at 3 p.m.