The 18th-ranked Virginia wrestling team returns to dual-match competition this week with matches at Appalachian State and Pennsylvania. UVa will wrestle Appalachian State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and then will travel to Penn for a 1 p.m. Sunday match at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The ASU match originally was scheduled for Dec. 19 but was postponed until Thursday because of a massive snowstorm on the East Coast.
Virginia is 10-3 in duals this season after going 3-2 and recording a seventh-place finish last weekend at the Virginia Duals in Hampton. The Cavaliers notched a pair of wins over Michigan as well as a triumph over then-No. 23 Old Dominion in securing just their third place-winning finish in 16 all-time appearances at the Virginia Duals.
UVa has five wrestlers who currently appear in various national rankings. Chris Henrich (Jr., Lansdale, Pa.) is fourth nationally at 174 pounds by all the national publications this week. Brent Jones (Sr., Burke, Va.) is ranked as high as No. 10 nationally at 197 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News. He also is 15th in the W.I.N. rankings and 17th according to InterMat.
Danny Gonsor (R-So., Cleveland, Ohio) is 17th according to InterMat and 20th in the W.I.N. rankings, while Mike Salopek (R-Fr., North Huntingdon, Pa.) is ranked as high as No. 17 at 184 by Amateur Wrestling News and also is 20th according to W.I.N. Ross Gitomer (Sr., Flemington, N.J.) is ranked 16th at 125 in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings.
Appalachian State holds a 2-6 record in duals this year and is coming off a 43-4 drubbing of Campbell on Saturday. UVa and ASU have met each of the last two seasons - the Cavaliers won 24-10 at ASU two years ago and posted a 34-9 win in Charlottesville last season. UVa holds a 4-2 advantage in the series.
Penn is 4-2 this year after sweeping a pair of duals with Binghamton and Rider last weekend. The Quakers currently boast two ranked wrestlers - No. 15 Matt Dragon at 157 and No. 20 Gabriel Burak at 165. Penn owns a 4-0 edge in the all-time series and took the last meeting, 16-14, at the Virginia Duals in 2008.
The Penn match features an interesting family rivalry for Derek Valenti (So., Newton, N.J.). Valenti's brother, Matt, was a two-time All-American at Penn and currently is an assistant coach for the Quakers.
Virginia starts its ACC schedule next weekend at Memorial Gymnasium. The Cavaliers play host to North Carolina at 5 p.m. Jan. 22, then welcome No. 15 Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. Jan. 23. It marks the Hokies' first trip to Charlottesville since 2006.