Five Virginia wrestlers competed at the NCAA Wrestling Championships this weekend

Junior Jack Mueller finishes as the runner-up at 125 pounds in the 2019 NCAA Championships

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Junior Jack Mueller secured second place at the NCAA Championships at 125 pounds. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships was hosted at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh this past weekend, starting Thursday and wrapping up Saturday. Five members of the Virginia wrestling team (12-10, 1-4 ACC) competed at the championships, seeking a national title. 

Junior Jack Mueller advanced all the way to the 125-pound finals before falling to third-seeded Iowa sophomore Spencer Lee.

Redshirt sophomore Jay Aiello, the seventh-seeded wrestler at 197 pounds, and redshirt senior Will Schany, the 29th-seeded wrestler at 184 pounds, both wrestled Friday before being eliminated in the second round of the consolation bracket. 

Redshirt freshman Cam Coy and redshirt junior Sam Krivus were eliminated from the competition after going a combined 0-4 Thursday.

Coy, the 25th-seed at 165 pounds, had a difficult slate on the opening day, facing two top-10 seeds back-to-back. Coy was first pinned by Virginia Tech redshirt freshman Mekhi Lewis who eventually went on to become the national champion. Coy’s next loss in the first consolation round ended his tournament run.

Similar to Coy, Krivus also had a difficult pair of opponents on the first day. Krivus dropped both matches, losing to Minnesota junior Mitch McKee and Navy senior Nicholas Gil.

“Unfortunately, we had to see two guys end their seasons, but their careers aren't over so there is still work to be done there.” Coach Steve Garland said in reference to Coy and Krivus.

Aiello secured a win in his first match of the competition with a 7-2 decision over Air Force senior Anthony McLaughlin. However, Aiello fell to the consolation bracket after losing in the second round to Virginia Tech redshirt senior Tom Sleigh. Aiello lost another close match Friday morning, bringing his debut trip to the NCAA Championships to an end.

While Schany dropped his first match of the weekend to fourth-seeded Illinois redshirt senior Parker Emery, he bounced back immediately by picking up an 8-5 decision to continue his consolation bracket run. Schany couldn’t keep his title hopes alive Friday as he dropped a 7-3 decision in the final match of his Virginia wrestling career.

While several Virginia wrestlers struggled in the first couple of rounds, Mueller cruised past his early opponents and was the only Cavalier who wrestled Saturday. Entering the weekend with a perfect 17-0 record, Mueller continued his dominant season with a pin in his opening bout followed by a major decision in the second round. 

"We're really excited for Jack [Mueller] who is still undefeated and wrestled awesome today," Garland said about Mueller’s first two matches.

Friday morning, Mueller picked up a tough 4-1 decision over fourth-seeded Oregon State redshirt senior Ronnie Bresser who suffered just his second loss of the season. Mueller then continued his impressive run with a comfortable 8-2 win over top-seeded Northwestern redshirt sophomore Sebastian Rivera.

"[Mueller] was completely locked in tonight and dominant,” Garland said about the upset. “That wrestler he just beat is one of the best in the nation in any weight class. He has been on a tear all year long. To see the way Jack [Mueller] won it, is amazing to me really.” 

With the win over Rivera in the semifinals, Mueller advanced to the finals round where he was pitted against defending NCAA champion Lee. While Mueller fought with intensity, a pair of takedowns by Lee and a stalling penalty called on Mueller proved too much for the Cavalier. 

Mueller suffered his first loss of the season by dropping a 5-0 decision to Lee who won his second national championship.

"We couldn't be prouder of [Mueller], " Garland said after the tough loss. "He really represented our University and our wrestling program, specifically, very well. I'm not just talking about his wrestling. I'm referring to the way he handled his words and his actions.”

The Virginia wrestling team will return next season and hope to improve on its 12-10 2018-19 record.

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