Cavaliers rally for 18-16 win at Campbell Sunday

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

The Virginia wrestling team put together a furious comeback on Sunday, claiming the final five weight classes of the dual – including a pin from Denton Spencer and a ranked upset from Neil Antrassian – to erase a 16-point deficit and take an 18-16 victory at Campbell.

The Camels (2-4) jumped out to the early lead in a dual that started at 197 pounds, winning the first five weight classes to build the 16-0 advantage over the Hoos. Virginia (2-1) wasn’t going to go down easily, however, as the battles from freshmen Kyle Montaperto at 125 pounds and Garrett Grice at 133 pounds – both one-point decisions at the last second – proved.

Virginia made its move at 149 pounds as Jarod Verkleeren ground out a 3-1 decision to get the Cavaliers on the scoreboard. Denton Spencer then vaulted the Hoos into striking distance with his first-period pin of Troy Nation at 157 pounds. Ninth-ranked Justin McCoy then locked up a decision at 165 pounds before Justin Phillips would battle to a 2-1 victory at 174 pounds that pulled Virginia within one on the scoreboard.

Neil Antrassian, the No. 30 wrestler at 184 pounds, then completed the comeback with his 9-3 decision over No. 13 Caleb Hopkins as he dominated the first period with a takedown and over two minutes of riding time before continuing to build his advantage until the end.

 Levi Hopkins (CU) major dec. Michael Battista, 14-3 – CU 4, UVA 0
HWT: No. 13 Taye Ghadiali (CU) dec. Jessie Knight, 10-5 – CU 7, UVA 0
125: Anthony Molton (CU) dec. Kyle Montaperto, 6-5 – CU 10, UVA 0
133: Domenic Zaccone (CU) dec. Garrett Grice, 6-5 – CU 13, UVA 0
141: Shannon Hanna (CU) dec. Dylan Cedeno, 5-1 – CU 16, UVA 0
149: No. 29 Jarod Verkleeren dec. Chris Rivera (CU), 3-1 – CU 16, UVA 3
157: Denton Spencer pinned Troy Nation (CU), 1:10 – CU 16, UVA 9
165: No. 9 Justin McCoy dec. Dom Baker (CU), 9-3 – CU 16, UVA 12
174: Justin Phillips dec. Cole Rees (CU), 2-1 – CU 16, UVA 15
184: No. 30 Neil Antrassian vs. Caleb Hopkins (CU), 9-3 – UVA 18, CU 16


  • Virginia improved to 4-1 in the all-time series with Campbell after Sunday’s come-from-behind victory.
  • Freshmen Kyle Montaperto (125) and Garrett Grice (133) made their first collegiate dual appearances.
  • Denton Spencer picked up his third pin of the season and the 21st pin of his career.

“What a huge win tonight. The whole match turned when Denton Spencer, who bumped up a weight class for the team, got the fall at 157. That ignited us and then we just got rolling. Then to finish like we did with Neil beating a stud like that; he controlled the match. Neil did what a veteran leader should do and he got the job done. I’m happy for our guys”

Virginia will break for finals before returning to action at the Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern. The prestigious two-day event will begin on Dec. 29.