Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clemente to wrestle at Virginia

La Salle Institute's Zach Clemente has given a verbal commitment to wrestle at the University of Virginia next year.
The 2008 New York State champ at 140 pounds chose the Cavaliers over Boston University, Binghamton, Lehigh and the University of Maryland.
Clemente went 53-0 in his junior year en route to the state title. He was the No. 2 ranked junior in the country at 140 pounds by InterMat and has a 153-25 career record.
Clemente became familiar with the Virginia program as a member of the Journeymen Wrestling Club. The club, run by Frank Popolizio, hosts the Northeast Collegiate Duals an event the Cavalier program often attended.
Virginia head coach Steve Garland and assistant Scott Moore showed an interest in Clemente early on.
"The coaches were really excited about recruiting me," he said. "They sent me letters every week updating me on the program they seemed like the most interested and the most caring."
Clemente said he felt at home once he got to know the coaching staff and his future teammates.
"I really like the coaching staff they're really enthusiastic about wrestling," he said. "The guys were good too. I really liked the guys on the team I clicked we'll with them and since you pretty much live there for the four or five years that you go there you train all the time so you're pretty much like a family so you have to go where you like the people."
Clemente will wrestle alongside another Section II star at Virginia in CBA graduate Michael Chaires.
Chaires is headed into his sophomore year and wrestles in the 165 pound weight class.
"He's a good friend of mine," Clemente said. "He's one of the wrestlers I looked up to when I was younger."
Clemente plans to wrestle at the 141/149 pound weight class at Virginia but for now is focused on a big senior year at La Salle.
"I want to go undefeated again," he said. "I want to hit the 200 win mark I need 47 wins this year and I think I'll be able to do that because I had 53 matches this year."

--Ryan Kircher

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