With a little more than a week to go before their season-opening meet, the Virginia wrestling team enjoyed a change of scenery at practice Tuesday. The Cavaliers held an open session at the UVa amphitheater, to give students a chance to see some of the work they have done this offseason.
"It's definitely a unique experience, I think it's just a great opportunity for us to try to grow our program a little bit," said junior wrestler Nick Sulzer. "A lot of kids on campus don't really know necessarily what we do in a sense. But I think in the grand scheme of things it's a great opportunity to grow the sport as well."
"We're kind of bringing our product to them," added head coach Steve Garland. "That's the whole point of it, to try to get awareness for what these guys are doing on a day-to-day basis. We're excited for them to get to see a part of their lives they wouldn't get to see normally, and hopefully admire and respect it, and then in turn that brings them to the matches."
UVa will host a quad meet to open the 2013-2014 season on Nov. 2 at Memorial Gymnasium against Anderson, Gardner-Webb and West Virginia.
The Cavaliers are bringing back 20 wrestlers from a team that placed 21st at the NCAA Championships in 2013. Among them are Sulzer, who was an All American in 2013 and the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, George DiCamillo.
The 'Hoos are now looking forward to building on their success from 2013, and Sulzer says that started with hard work in the offseason.
"Honestly, I think it's the best we've had," the All-American says of his team's summer training. "I've been here for four years now. I think it was the best preseason. Usually you have the same talk every year with your team about what's to be expected and this year we didn't have to do that. Everyone's come in and we're really creating an identity for ourselves to just go out and work hard."
"Last year, we were 11th in the nation in the rankings," says Garland. "We had 9 out of 10 qualify for nationals. It's going to be hard to top that, but that's our goal. We want to get a team trophy at NCAAs, we want to have multiple All-Americans again, we want to have a national champ, which hasn't happened yet. So we've got some pretty lofty goals, and we're not going to be happy unless we get them."