Seven Virginia wrestlers are preparing to spend their St. Patrick's Day in Philadelphia, home of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Headlined by national fifth seed and four-time NCAA competitor Chris Henrich, five wrestlers earned an automatic bid based on their performance at the ACC Championships, while two additional wrestlers earned an at-large berth.
"It's actually a harder and more expensive ticket to come by than the Final Four," NCAA associate director for championships Jeff Jarnecke said in a Philly.com article. "That's the rumor, at least."
At 174 pounds, Henrich will be facing Eric Starks of Arizona State, whom Henrich had beaten in January at the Virginia Duals.
Joining Henrich will be first-timers Jon Fausey (184 lbs.), Matt Snyder (125 lbs.) and Joe Spisak (133 lbs.) and second-timers Jack Danilkowicz (heavyweight), Nick Nelson (141 lbs.) and Derek Valenti (149 lbs.).
Last year, the 2010 ACC Champion Cavaliers finished 15th at the NCAA Championships, the program's second-best finish. This year's seven competitors is just one shy of the school record eight, set last year.
For the first-time ever, ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to air all six rounds of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship.
ESPNU HD will serve as the home of the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds Friday, March 18, starting at 10:30 a.m. and the medal round on Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m. ESPN3.com will exclusively air the first and second rounds on Thursday, March 17, beginning at 11 a.m., and provide individual coverage of all four mats of the quarterfinals. ESPN HD and ESPN3.com will present the final round on Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m.