Surging Virginia wrestling team to take on #8 Pittsburgh

Andrew Carpenean-US PRESSWIRE

The Virginia wrestling team as been red hot all season, beginning the year at 13-2, including ACC wins at Duke and over a very good Virginia Tech team at JPJ back in November that made up for the football loss that weekend (kinda).

Led by Nick Sulzer (ranked #2 at 165 pounds), the Hoos are headed into the heart of ACC play ranked 13th in the nation. The team's two losses came in close matchups in dual meet tournaments against Wisconsin and Lehigh, teams ranked 19th and 20th, respectively. UVA has a validating win over #17 Virginia Tech, as well as victories over #26 Kent State and #14 Edinboro on the way to the team's first ever Virginia Duals championship.

Tonight, UVA looks to pull off its biggest win of the season in a showdown with 8th ranked Pittsburgh, the teams' first ever ACC matchup. The Hoos and the Panthers are the only two ACC teams with perfect conference records, and this match is likely to determine the regular season ACC champ. (UVA has the tiebreaker over VT, and Maryland, who usually competes for ACC titles, is having a down season at 4-7).

Pitt is 9-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play, with the team's lone loss at #1 Penn State. (The Panthers also notched a 19-18 home victory over #5 Oklahoma State). These guys are good, and a tough addition to the ACC wrestling race that has been a 3-team one between UVA, VT, and Maryland for the last few years.

Beyond Sulzer, UVA has 5 other wrestlers ranked in the top 25 by InterMat: Joe Spisak (#16 at 141), Gus Sako (#10 at 149), Blaise Butler (#15 at 157), Steven Doty (#12 at 174), and Jon Fausey (#20 at 184). With more than half of the team ranked among the best in the nation (NCAA wrestling has 10 weight classes), coach Steve Garland has molded his young squad into one of his best yet.

Tonight's match begins at 7 PM. It won't be televised, but you can follow results as they come in here. Next week, the Hoos return to Mem Gym for home matches against Maryland, Bucknell, and UNC. The ACC Championships will take place in Blacksburg this year on March 8th.

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