Three Champions Lead Virginia To Fourth-Place Finish At Keystone Classic

uva wrestlingThe No. 23 Virginia wrestling team took fourth place at the Keystone Classic on Sunday (Nov. 24) with a tournament-leading three champions helping push the Cavaliers to 139 team points on the day. The event was held at the Palestra.

Redshirt juniors Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) and Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.), and redshirt sophomore Denton Spencer (Waverly, Ga.) all claimed championships at their weight classes to lead nine place-winners for the Cavaliers. Aiello won the title at 197 pounds, while Hayes claimed first at 133 pounds and Spencer took first place at 149 pounds.

On his way to the championship, Spencer defeated 19th-ranked Jonathan Milner of Appalachian State in the finals. Aiello, who is the ninth-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds, defeated No. 15 Ethan Laird of Rider in his championship bout.

“We had some good things happen today,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “Patrick (McCormick) wrestled out of his mind. Louie (Hayes) looked great and Denton (Spencer) continues to beat ranked guys. Jay (Aiello) was solid and got better as the day went on. Quinn (Miller) had a good win in the semifinals and continues to grow.

“We just got worn down a bit in some cases; today was a long, long day. We will be doing some work over the next month to ensure they don’t get worn out like that again. Overall, we made some silly mistakes, but it was good to make this trip because we got to see some things in competition early in the season and can now work to clean them up.”

Virginia added a pair of runner-up finishes from redshirt freshmen Patrick McCormick (Poquoson, Va.) at 125 pounds and Quinn Miller (Lilburn, Ga.) at heavyweight. Junior Michael Battista (Fairfax, Va.) and redshirt freshman Justin McCoy (New Paris, Pa.) finished in fifth place at 184 pounds and 157 pounds respectively. Redshirt sophomore Brian Courtney (Sayre, Pa.) finished sixth at 141 pounds, while redshirt junior Michael Murphy (Lookout Mountain, Tenn.) finished seventh at 149 pounds.

McCormick faced a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers on the way to his runner-up finish at 125 pounds. He defeated 17th-ranked Jonathan Tropea of Rider in the semifinals before dropping a major decision to No. 11 Michael Colaiocco of Penn in the championship bout.

It was the first team tournament of the season for the Cavaliers who have turned in an overall mark of 3-1 this season through four dual matches. Several individuals have gone to compete at open tournaments.

Virginia will return to action in two weeks when the Cavaliers compete at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The two-day tournament runs Dec. 6-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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