Antrassian, McCoy, Battista each reach podium on final day at Midlands Championsips

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

A trio of Cavaliers finished the year on the podium, including a third-place finish from Neil Antrassian, who led the group of three Virginia wrestlers who placed at the Midlands Championships on Friday at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Joining Antrassian (184) on the podium were fifth-place finisher Justin McCoy (165) and sixth-place finisher Michael Battista (197).

Antrassian posted the third-place finish after going undefeated on the day with four victories, including a sudden victory decision over No. 30 Anthony Carmany of West Virginia in the consolation semifinals and a strong 12-6 decision over No. 12 Brian Soldano of Rutgers in the third-place match.

McCoy locked up his fifth-place finish with a 3-1 performance on the day, picking up a pair of major decisions before dropping a tough battle with No. 15 Dan Braunagel of Illinois in the consolation semifinals. He then closed out the day with a 4-2 decision over Nathan Lackman from Rhode Island College.

Battista went 2-2 on the day, picking up consecutive decisions to start the day – including a win over No. 33 Cole Urbas of Penn before dropping an overtime match in the consolation semifinals and a battle with No. 14 Luke Stout of Princeton in the final match of the tournament.

Five Cavaliers competed on the second day of action as Jarod Verkleeren and Nick Hamilton, who was competing in an unattached capacity, also took the mat.

• The three placewinners for UVA matches the previous best when three Hoos placed in the 2019 Midlands.
• That season saw a runner-up finish from Jay Aiello (197), a sixth-place finish from Louie Hayes (133) and a seventh-place finish from Vic Marcelli (174).
• Recent UVA alum Brian Courtney who ended his career with the Cavaliers this past spring placed fourth in the event competing at 141 pounds.

“This tournament was such a grind. Some of our guys got seven or eight matches this weekend. That’s great stuff. They saw great competition and were forced to get tough and respond after setbacks. Neil (Antrassian) was the story of the day for sure. He just locked down a huge win for third and looked great doing it.”

Virginia will ring in the new year with a group of wrestlers at the Southern Scuffle which is set to begin on Sunday at Chattanooga.

Jarod Verkleeren
 Verkleeren pinned Justin Benjamin (Northwestern), 2:27
R16: Verkleeren dec. Jeff Boyd (West Virginia), 6-5
QF: No. 10 Doug Zapf (Penn) dec. Verkleeren, 9-3
Conso. R6: Nate Higley (George Mason) dec. Verkleeren, 7-5 (sv-1)
*Thursday’s results listed in italics

Nick Hamilton
 Hamilton dec. Nathan Lackman (Rhode Island College) , 5-3
R16: No. 16 Holden Heller (Pitt) dec. Hamilton, 6-0
Conso. R4: Hamilton dec. Wilder Wichman (Thomas More), 10-4

Conso. R5: Hamilton dec. James Conway (Missouri), 7-5 (sv-1)
Conso. R6: Cardi Wilson (SIUE) dec. Hamilton, 3-2
*Thursday’s results listed in italics

No. 8 Justin McCoy – Fifth-Place Finish
 McCoy tech fall Wilder Wichman (Thomas More), 18-3 (7:00)
R16: McCoy major dec. Josh Kim (Harvard), 11-2
QF: No. 10 Izzak Olejnik (N. Illinois) dec. McCoy, 3-2

Conso. R6: McCoy major dec. Max Mayfield (Northwestern), 11-3
Conso. R7: McCoy major dec. Cardi Wilson (SIUE), 9-1
Conso. SF: No. 15 Dan Braunagel (Illinois) dec. McCoy, 10-4
FIFTH-PLACE MATCH: McCoy dec. Nathan Lackman (Rhode Island College), 4-2
*Thursday’s results listed in italics

No. 20 Neil Antrassian – Third-Place Finish
 Antrassian pinned Jack Jessen (Northwestern), 3:48
R16: Antrassian dec. Ike Squires (Unattached), 10-5
QF: Jaritt Shinhoster (UW-Whitewater) dec. Antrassian, 7-3
Conso. R6: Antrassian major dec. Nate Dugan (Princeton), 8-0
Conso. R7: Antrassian major dec. Evan Bates (Northwestern), 16-5
Conso. SF: Antrassian dec. No. 30 Anthony Carman (West Virginia), 7-5 (sv-1)
THIRD-PLACE MATCH: Antrassian dec. No. 12 Brian Soldano (Rutgers), 12-6
*Thursday’s results listed in italics

Michael Battista – Sixth-Place Finish
R32: Battista dec. Joey Lyons (Cleveland State), 5-3
R16: Battista dec. Sam Mitchell (Buffalo), 4-3
QF: Zac Braunagel (Illinois) dec. Battista, 4-1
Conso. R4: Battista dec. Eli Sheeren (Buffalo), 8-4
Conso. R5: Battista dec. No. 33 Cole Urbas (Penn), 4-1
Conso. SF: Mac Stout (Pitt) dec. Battista, 3-1 (sv-1)
FIFTH-PLACE MATCH: No. 14 Luke Stout (Princeton) major dec. Battista, 12-3
*Thursday’s results listed in italics