After starting the season with a win against American, Virginia wrestling (2-0, 0-0 ACC) continued its early success with a strong performance against Maryland (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten) Friday night in College Park, Md. The Cavaliers’ impressive start to the season has placed them at 26th in the NWCA Coaches Poll.
Virginia started the meet with intensity, winning the first six matches — including two bonus-point victories — and picking up a 21-0 lead. The two bonus victories would come from graduate students Jarod Verkleeren and Jon Errico, who wrestle at 149-pounds and 157-pounds, respectively. No. 31 Verkleeren defeated sophomore William Berkowitz by technical fall with a score of 16-0, finishing the match after 4:02 and giving the Cavaliers five points. Moreover, Errico beat junior Lucas Cordio with a 15-6 major decision to give Virginia four points as part of their 21-0 start.
Virginia sophomore Patrick McCormick started the win streak, defeating sophomore Zach Spence 6-3 at 125 pounds. Next at 133 pounds, No. 16 graduate student Brian Courtney took Virginia to a 6-0 lead after a close 4-2 win over Terrapin junior King Sandoval.
Cavalier sophomore Dylan Cedeno then displayed a close 4-2 decision win over senior Danny Bertoni to allow Cedeno to move to 2-0 on the season.
“We had some gritty wins tonight,” Coach Steve Garland said. “Justin McCoy, Brian Courtney and Dylan Cedeno in particular got tough when they needed to.”
The biggest match of the night would be at 165 pounds between No. 19 senior Justin McCoy and No. 31 freshman John Martin Best. McCoy gave the Cavaliers their sixth victory, winning 8-4 by decision. The win would propel Virginia to a 21-0 lead over Maryland.
The Terrapins would then get their first win of the night in the 174-pound weight class. Sophomore Dominic Solis defeated junior Justin Phillips 5-2 by decision to make the score 21-3. Maryland would build on this momentum, winning the next two matches.
184-pound Terrapin senior Kyle Cochran defeated Cavalier graduate student Michael Battista 7-4. The Terrapins would then make the score 21-9 after graduate student Jaron Smith defeated junior Ethan Weatherspoon at 197 pounds. The match was extremely high-scoring, finishing 16-14 in favor of Smith.
“[Weatherspoon] competed his heart out, but came just inches away from a win,” Garland said. “He can walk off the mat with his head held high and no regrets because he gave everything he had out there and represented his teammates, his family and his University well. We are proud of him.”
The final match of the night was between two ranked opponents in the heavyweight class. No. 21 graduate student Quinn Miller faced off against No. 32 senior Zach Schrader. Miller brought the Cavaliers their seventh win of the night, winning 8-2 by decision. The final score of the dual meet was 24-9.
Virginia’s next dual meet is against Campbell in Charlottesville and is set to start at 1 p.m. Saturday.