Live Video Link (Big South Network)
BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb wrestling will host Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia in its home opener Friday night, with the first bout set to begin at 7:00 pm in Paul Porter Arena.
The match will air live on the Big South Network, with the veteran broadcast tandem of Alex and Andy Bennett calling the action.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (2-1) last wrestled on November 20 at the annual Wolfpack Open in Raleigh, N.C. Matches against Shippensburg (W), Sacred Heart (W) and Drexel (L) all came on the same day to open the season November 5 in Philadelphia.
Gardner-Webb features five men in its starting lineup with NCAA Championship experience and a sixth – highly-regarded and 12th-ranked 165-pounder Tyler Marinelli – who will push to join that quintet in 2017. Each has gotten off to a strong start this season.
Chris Vassar (149) earned Gardner-Webb's first NCAA Division I at-large bid last spring and is off to a 5-3 start (1-1 dual) with a pair of pins so far.
Ryan Mosley (157), a 2015 NCAA qualifier, is off to a 6-2 start (3-0 dual) this season and Marinelli is 4-1 with his lone defeat coming at the hands of 2016 national runner up Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin in the title bout at the Wolfpack Open.
Two-time NCAA qualifier Austin Trott (174) has bumped up a weight class this season, but has gotten off to a strong 9-1 start (3-0 dual) with three tech falls and a pin to his credit.
The Runnin' Bulldogs are strong again at 184 pounds, with 20th-ranked Hunter Gamble back for his senior season. The fifth-year standout qualified for NCAA Championships in 2013 as true freshman and went undefeated in Southern Conference competition last regular season. Gamble is off to a 6-1 start this season (3-0 dual).
Heavyweight Boyce Cornwell also returns for his fifth season with the 'Dogs after earning a spot in last season's NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden. He picked up a win in the first round in New York, before falling in a pair of tight matches to Big Ten foes.
Cornwell is off to a 6-2 start this season (2-1 dual) with a pair of pins.
Landon LoAlbo (125), Philip Anderson (133), Ryan Hull (141) and Payton Mills (197) are also expected to take the mat as starters for the Runnin' Bulldogs on Friday night. Hull (4-2, 3-0 dual) is off to a particularly fast start in 2016.
Virginia (2-2) dropped a pair of early matches to a pair of nationally-ranked squads – No. 11 Michigan and No. 17 Central Michigan – before returning home to top Lock Haven and Maryland in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers feature three wrestlers ranked in the national top-20 individually. Freshman Jack Mueller (125) is ranked No. 19 nationally by FloWrestling in his first season on the mat and has rolled to an 8-0 start. Mueller has scored bonus points in six of his eight bouts so far, including five tech fall wins.
George DiCamillo (141) is ranked No. 9 nationally this season and is off to a 4-0 start himself. He hs scored 12 or more points in each of his matches to date, with three wins coming via major decision. DiCamillo has gone 59-13 for his career with the Cavaliers.
Junior standout Andrew Atkinson (157) will battle Mosley at 157 pounds and has gotten off to a very strong 7-2 start to the season. Atkinson's lone losses this season have come to wrestlers ranked in the top-10 individually. Five of his seven wins have come via tech fall or pin fall.
Gardner-Webb and Virginia last met on the mat when the Cavaliers were ranked No. 9 nationally – a 33-3 win by UVA on November 15 in Charlottesville, Va.
Admission to Friday night's match is free of charge. For more information call the Gardner-Webb athletics office at (704) 406-4340.
Probable Starters | Dec. 2, 2016
125 – #19 Jack Mueller (8-0)
133 – Will Mason (4-3)
141 – #9 George DiCamillo (4-0)
149 – Samuel Krivus (5-3)
157 – #19 Andrew Atkinson (7-2)
165 – Cam Harrell (1-1)
174 – Ray Bethea (11-5)
184 – Will Schany (4-5)
197 – Chance McClure (3-4)
285 – Chuck Boddy (7-5) / Tyler Love (5-2)
125 – Landon LoAlbo (1-2)
133 – Philip Anderson (2-3)
141 – Ryan Hull (4-2)
149 – Chris Vassar (5-3)
157 – Ryan Mosley (6-2)
165 – #12 Tyler Marinelli (4-1)
174 – Austin Trott (9-1)
184 – #20 Hunter Gamble (6-1)
197 – Payton Mills (3-4)
285 – Boyce Cornwell (6-2)
* Individual rankings by FloWrestling/Asics