The North Carolina wrestling team had yet to score when redshirt senior Mike Rappo took to the mat for his 141-pound bout. He was determined to change that.
Rappo came out strong against Virginia, scoring first with a takedown near the edge of the mat. He was the first Tar Heel of the day to jump to an early lead. Rappo maintained control of Cavalier Gus Sako in the first three minutes by restraining his right shoulder. Building on his early advantage, he scored another takedown in the second period to lead 4-2.
With slightly more than one minute remaining in the bout, Rappo weaseled his way around Sako’s left arm to notch a reversal and solidify his lead. As the final seconds ticked off during the final period, Rappo defended his riding time and took the extra point to finish the bout 7-3.
“I went in to the third with a pretty good lead, and I didn’t really know the kid that well but he seemed like he was pretty decent on top.” Rappo said. “I got to my feet, and when he tried to return me, I quickly hit a switch and worked around on top — that pretty much locked it up for me.”
The win put the Tar Heels on the board and cut the Cavalier lead down to just six points, but Corey Mock was the only other North Carolina wrestler to beat Virginia.