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Previewing Virginia wrestling’s 2021-22 roster

With a bevy of returning wrestlers, the team looks to improve on last year's shortened season

<p>Junior Michael Battista will look to build off of a strong 6-4 record last year as the Cavaliers fight to break into the ACC's top three.</p>

Junior Michael Battista will look to build off of a strong 6-4 record last year as the Cavaliers fight to break into the ACC's top three.

After placing fourth last season at the ACC Championship with a 2-3 record in the ACC, Virginia looks to build on last year’s shortened season. This year, Virginia will compete in 13 regular season meets before the ACC and NCAA Championships in March. Virginia returns many experienced wrestlers who will be able to show out for the Cavaliers in front of a full Memorial Gymnasium for the first time since 2020. 

“I like the variety and am pleased with what we have set for our team,” Coach Steve Garland said when discussing the upcoming schedule. 

125 Pounds 

The 125-pound weight class is led by sophomore Patrick McCormick, who finished with a 9-7 record during the 2020-21 season. Additionally, McCormick placed third at the ACC Championship, having won the third place match decisively by a score of 6-1. McCormick also competed in the NCAA Championship, where he won his first match but proceeded to fall to the number-one seed, Iowa senior Spencer Lee, who eventually took home a national championship.

McCormick has been “disciplined on his diet” and has “worked to become a more offensive wrestler,” according to Rock Harrison, ESPN and ACC Network college wrestling analyst.

Freshmen Joe Haynes, Josiah Encarnacion and Marlon Yarbrough II will join McCormick in the 125-pound weight class. 

133 Pounds 

The 133-pound weight class is led by junior Brian Courtney, who finished last season with a 10-6 record. Courtney placed fourth in last season’s ACC Championship and will hope to break into the ACC’s top three this season.

Redshirt freshman Evan Buchanan aims to backup after finishing with a 4-3 record last season. Buchanan is joined by redshirt freshman Trey Lane and potentially by freshman Erik Roggie, who may enter the lineup depending on injuries. 

141 Pounds 

Freshman Dylan Cedeno is expected to be the projected starter in this weight class. Junior Scott Kiyono will likely back up Cedeno and build on last year’s 4-2 record. Redshirt freshman Nick Coy, freshman Patrick Noonan and freshman Landen Hacker will also be competing in this weight class. 

149 Pounds 

The 149 pound weight class features graduate student Jarod Verkleeren, who had a 32-16 career record when he wrestled at Penn State. Junior Denton Spencer, who has a 41-30 career record, will serve as support. 

Verkleeren will have a great influence upon redshirt freshman Ray Costa, freshman Luca Errico and sophomore Alex Cruz, bringing a stabilizing veteran influence to this weight class.

157 Pounds 

Junior Jake Keating joins this weight class after wrestling at 165 pounds last season and achieving a 10-5 record on the season and a 4-2 record in the ACC. Keating placed second in the ACC Championship at 165 pounds. 

Graduate student Jon Errico looks to compete as well after wrestling for five years at the University of Pennsylvania and garnering 42 wins. Redshirt freshmen Anthony Steinmeyer and Justin Phillips and sophomore Dominic Isola look to contribute as well.

165 Pounds 

The ACC Championship runner-up sophomore Justin McCoy looks to build on last year's success and has switched weight classes with Keating for the season. Last season, McCoy posted a 9-4 record overall and 4-1 record in the ACC and has a solid chance to go undefeated in the ACC this year.

“Justin McCoy is moving up to 165 and was described as looking [like] a full-size, 165-pound wrestler,” Harrison said. 

Sophomore Krystian Kinsey, redshirt freshman Nic Sansone and freshman Gavin Cagle are all open to fill the back-up spot. 

174 Pounds 

Sophomore Victor Marcelli placed fourth at the ACC Championship last year and will be the projected starting wrestler for the weight class. Marcelli finished with an 8-7 record overall and 3-2 in the ACC last season. Sophomore Robert Patrick, redshirt freshman David Veltri and freshmen Loudon Hurt and Rocco Contino will look to fight for the top spot in this weight class as well. 

184 Pounds 

After a 6-4 record last season, junior Michael Battista looks to lead the way for this weight class. The competitive weight class is followed by four more wrestlers, redshirt freshman Ethan Weatherspoon and freshmen Hudson Stewart, Hadyn Danals and Colden Dorfman. Notably, Dorfman will either wrestle at 184 or 197 pounds. 

197 Pounds 

Senior Jay Aiello looks to capture an ACC Championship after being the runner-up last year. Aiello went 10-4 last season with four of those wins being against ACC opponents. Freshman Vikram Ostrander looks to learn from Aiello after achieving All-State Honors as a junior at Edgemont High School in New York. 

285 Pounds 

The heavyweight weight class is led by junior Quinn Miller, who placed third in the ACC Championship last year. Freshman Jessie Knight and redshirt freshman Mateusz Kudra look to make an impact in this weight class. Kudra was a two time All-American in high school, and Knight was a two-time Virginia state champion in high school. 

“[The Cavaliers have] a good mixture of veterans and with some young strength in the lineup,” Harrison said. “If Virginia can stay healthy, they can absolutely compete.”

The Cavaliers start their season Saturday at American in Washington, D.C. The start time for the dual is set for 7:30 p.m.