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No. 18 Wrestling Splits First Two Matches at Virginia Duals

Chris Henrich, courtesy UVa Media RelationsThe No. 18 Virginia wrestling team picked up a dominating win over Michigan and then threw a scare into No. 10 Oklahoma before going down in defeat Friday in the first day of competition at the Virginia Duals, hosted at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.

UVa opened with a 23-10 victory over Michigan, marking Virginia's first win ever over the Wolverines. In the second match, the Cavaliers' late rally against Oklahoma fell short in a 21-13 defeat to the Sooners (7-0-1).

Virginia (8-2) moves into the consolation bracket and will wrestle No. 23 Old Dominion at 10 a.m. Saturday. The winner will advance to face the Edinboro-Virginia Tech winner, while the loser will be eliminated. The Cavaliers and Monarchs met last season in Norfolk, with the match coming down to sudden victory time in the final bout as ODU pulled out a 21-18 win.

Fourth-ranked Chris Henrich (Jr., Lansdale, Pa.) scored two wins on the day at 174 pounds, with both over formidable foes, as he pushed his record to 17-2 this year. Against Oklahoma, he racked up over four minutes of riding time in an 11-1 major decision over No. 8 Jeff James. He also coasted to a 6-1 win over Michigan's Justin Zeerip, who is ranked No. 20 in one national poll.

Mike Salopek (R-Fr., North Huntingdon, Pa.), ranked No. 19 nationally at 184 pounds, also picked up a pair of wins for the Cavaliers.

Brent Jones (Sr., Burke, Va.) had UVa's biggest win of the day, recording a quick pin of third-ranked Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma at 197 pounds. The fall was the 40th of Jones' career as he continued to build on his school record. It also was UVa's fastest pin of the season.

UVa won seven of the 10 weight classes against Michigan (3-5). Kellon Balum (Sr., Herndon, Pa.) and Danny Gonsor (R-So., Cleveland, Ohio) each picked up major decisions. Balum won 13-3 over Michigan's Mark Boyer at 149, while Gonsor notched a 14-4 major decision over Dave Johnson at 157.

Despite the team score, the UVa-OU match was tight for most of the contest. The Sooners won by decision at the first six weight classes, with four of the wins coming by three points or fewer, to grab an 18-0 lead before UVa mounted a comeback. Henrich picked up UVa's first four points with his major decision over James at 174 and Salopek followed with a 3-1 decision against Oklahoma's Erich Schmidtke at 184. Jones then pinned Lapotsky in just 15 seconds to pull UVa within 18-13, but No. 12 Nathan Fernandez ended any thoughts of a UVa upset with an 8-2 decision over UVa's Jack Danilkowicz (R-Jr., Green Oaks, Ill.) in the heavyweight class.