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By Matt Krumrie
Following a record season which included an ACC Championship and a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, Virginia head coach Steve Garland was named the 2009-10 ACC Coach of the Year. Now, in 2010-11, Garland’s Cavaliers are 13-5 in dual meets and 1-0 in the ACC.
The Cavaliers, who had the nation’s 9th-ranked recruiting class for 2011-2012 according to WIN Magazine are in action Friday when they host a resurgent Rutgers. Garland recently took the time to talk about some news related to the Virginia wrestling team. Here is what he had to say:
Matt Krumrie: What’s the big news with your wrestling team thus far this year?
Garland: One of the top stories on our team this year is the emergence of redshirt freshman Jon Fausey. Fausey (Dalmatia, Pa./Line Mountain) was a big recruit out of high school (2009 Pennsylvania state champ) and we knew he would be tough, but he has really shown us just how tough he is this year. So far he’s taken on the #1, #2, #4 and #8 ranked wrestlers in the country (Fausey is 20-6 on the season). We are very excited to see what he can do in the end of the year run. The other news (although not positive) has been the big injuries we have had to deal with this year. Three top 12 ranked guys in Nick Nelson, Jedd Moore and Mike Salopek have missed time with significant injuries and it has really been tough for our guys. I am very proud though at how our team has responded. We are 13-5 right now and our young guys have really stepped up and carried a heavy load (guys like freshman Joe Spisak who already has 17 wins with a very tough schedule) and that has made the difference for us. All this said we’ve been able to pull out wins over 17th-ranked Kent State and top 25 Arizona State this year. So again, I am proud of our team for hanging in there and not giving up.
MK: Who is wrestling well and what are they doing that stands out?
Garland: Chris Henrich is 23-1 on the year with his only loss to Eddie Ruth (the top-ranked 174-pounder from Penn State) in the Southern Scuffle finals (Heinrich is ranked No. 4 by WIN Magazine).
MK: What are some unique things people may not know about Virginia wrestling?
Garland: We take our academic success here very seriously. We have had the highest cumulative GPA in the school for male sports teams the last two semesters in a row. We have also had a cumulative team GPA of a 3.0 or higher for five straight semesters.
MK: What are some things you see going on in ACC wrestling that stand out?
Garland: The ACC conference is really getting tough. With what Virginia Tech has been able to do this year I think it has really shown the country that there is some good wrestling down south now. Also, Maryland is always tough and they have some great guys in their lineup, UNC just brought in a highly ranked recruiting class and North Carolina state has a national champ in their lineup. So, in all, I think the ACC conference championship is going to be great to watch.
Related Virginia Wrestling News and Notes
Virginia Wrestling: 2010-11 Results
Virginia Wrestling: 2010-11 Roster
Virginia coach Steve Garland Featured in The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps
About Matt’s Mat Notes
Matt’s Mat Notes is a new feature on WIN-Magazine.com which consists of news, notes and quotes related to developments on and off the mat in college wrestling. Author Matt Krumrie is the former editor of TheWrestlingMall.com and in addition to contributing to WIN Magazine and The Guillotine, is the author of the new book The Ultimate Guide to Wrestling Camps, a comprehensive guide featuring resources, tips and stories for parents and youth to high school-age wrestlers. If you have a story idea or suggestion, news, notes or tidbit, please email him at email@example.com