In its first action of the new year, the Virginia wrestling team travelled to Hampton, Va. to face a trio of ranked opponents over a two-day competition.
Virginia (9-6) opened the weekend against No. 20 Lock Haven (3-2), taking a 32-12 victory and advancing in the bracket. The Cavaliers won seven weight classes and never lost the lead.
Junior Jack Mueller, the fifth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, and redshirt sophomore Louie Hayes gave Virginia an early 9-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore Michael Murphy and sophomore Jake Keating extended the Cavaliers’ lead after the Bald Eagles cut their deficit to six.
Redshirt senior Will Schany, redshirt sophomore Jay Aiello, and redshirt junior Tyler Love iced the dual with three-consecutive wins.
The following day, Virginia faced No. 16 Arizona State (3-6) in a semifinal matchup and once again walked away with a victory. While the Cavaliers and the Sun Devils split the weight classes, bonus points proved critical in Virginia’s win.
A tech fall from Mueller and pins from Keating and Aiello, the seventh-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds, fueled the Cavaliers’ victory.
In the final match of the weekend, Virginia faced in-state rival No. 13 Virginia Tech — the third time the two have met in the finals of the Virginia Duals.
Mueller once again gave the Cavaliers the early lead with yet another bonus-point victory, but the Hokies proceeded to win the remaining nine weight classes to secure a dominant 37-5 win.
While the end of the weekend may have been disappointing, Virginia certainly bolstered its resume and gained some momentum with consecutive victories over ranked opponents earlier in the bracket.
Virginia will return to action on Jan. 18 to face VMI on the road before returning to Charlottesville to host Ohio on Jan. 20.