No. 13 Virginia Wrestling Happy to Be Home

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email

The last time the No. 13 Virginia wrestling team had a home meet, it wasn't even 2014 yet.

You have to go all the way back to before Thanksgiving (November 24, 2013 to be exact) for the last time the Cavaliers wrestled in front of their home crowd.

That afternoon the Hoos defeated arch-rival Virginia Tech 19-16 in front of a wild John Paul Jones Arena crowd.

Since then, Virginia has been on the road, enduring long bus rides and hotels. Finally, the Cavaliers are back on grounds, hosting a pair of meets this weekend.

UVa gets ACC rival Maryland Friday in the last matchup between the two as conference foes before the Terps move to the Big Ten next season.

Virginia then hosts Bucknell Sunday.

"We've got two duals this weekend and we don't have to travel anywhere," senior Jon Fausey said. "We can still take that day in between Saturday and get our weight right, get our work done, focus on what we need to do Sunday and I think that's a big key."

Fausey and the Cavaliers say they're thrilled to be home and not have to board a bus.

"The traveling gets to you. It wears on you. A lot of long trips, some unfortunate bus rides, getting into places late. Getting able to sleep at your own house, your own apartment, your own bed, and then get up in the morning and go through your normal routine, it's a big weight off your shoulders," Fausey explained.

For head coach Steve Garland, being home is a chance for his team to wrestle in front of a growing fan base.

"One of the things we're really happy about is the fan support, the alumnus support, administrative support," Garland said. "People within the University coming to our matches and cheering like crazy. That's a really cool thing that's happened over the last few years and something we're excited to see again Friday night."

Virginia is coming off its worst loss of the season, a 25-9 loss at No. 8 Pittsburgh last Friday.

Garland spoke to his team after the match and came out thinking the loss would help the Cavaliers regain their edge.

"Anytime you're humbled, you're in a position to listen and learn," Garland explained. "We were humbled and the reaction was good because our guys were really locked in and focused this whole week."

Virginia hosts a Maryland team Friday its beaten in two straight meets, but Garland is well aware of the Terps' winning history.

"They always come well prepared, they always come well coached and ready to compete so it's going to be a great match," Garland said.

The Cavs say they aren't focusing on the match as sending Maryland to the Big Ten with a loss in its final meet as ACC opponents.

"I always think of Maryland as an ACC team. I haven't thought about them going to the Big Ten," Fausey admitted. "It's always nice going out on a statement. It might not be the last time we wrestle Maryland but in conference, every year, we all want to go out with that 'W' on the board."

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