WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

Six UVa Grapplers Earn NCAA Tournament Bids

March 7, 2012

Six Virginia wrestlers will compete at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships, scheduled for March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Five Cavaliers earned automatic berths into the field based on their finishes at the 2012 ACC Championships, while Gus Sako was awarded an at-large berth into the 149-pound field on Wednesday.

Three Cavaliers earned top-12 national seeds. Matt Snyder is the No. 11 seed at 125 pounds, Nick Nelson earned the No. 7 seed at 141 and Jon Fausey is seeded No. 12 at 184 pounds.

Coming off an ACC championship at 125, Snyder (22-3) will wrestle
Johnni DiJulius (19-13) of Ohio State in the first round. Snyder will
be competing at the NCAA championships for the second consecutive year; he reached the round of 12 last year, falling one win shy of All- America status.

In his first NCAA appearance, Matt Nelson will wrestle No. 7 seed A.J. Schopp (36-4) of Edinboro at 133. Nelson (17-5) earned an automatic berth into the tournament after a third-place finish at the ACC championships.

Nick Nelson, the ACC champion at 141 pounds, will take on Mike Kessler (32-11) of Appalachian State in the first round. Nelson wrestled Kessler on Feb. 11 in a dual at ASU and handed Kessler a 3-0 defeat. Nelson will be competing in the NCAA championships for the third time; he reached the round of 12 at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

After receiving an at-large berth into the championships today, Gus
Sako will wrestle second-seeded Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State in the first round. Sako (21-6) placed third at the ACC championships and will be competing at the NCAA event for the first time. A reigning All-American, Parks holds a 30-0 record entering the championships.

Nick Sulzer will face the winner of the pigtail match between No. 7 seed Josh Asper (24-1) of Maryland and Mark Lewandowski (28-6) of Buffalo. A first-time NCAA qualifier, Sulzer (25-7) has wrestled each of his potential first-round foes already this year, dropping 4-3 decisions in both bouts. Sulzer's brother, Aaron, will wrestle in the 157-pound class at NCAAs for Eastern Michigan.

Fresh off his ACC championship at 184 pounds, Fausey (21-3) will take on Ian Hinton (20-14) of Michigan State in the opening round. Fausey will be competing at NCAAs for the second-straight season. He went 2-2 last year at the event in Philadelphia.

Virginia is aiming for its third-consecutive top-25 team finish at the
NCAA championships. UVa took 15th in 2010 and tied for 23rd last season.


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