Cavalier Corner

February 2019

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FEBRUARY 2019 29 cavalier profile JAY AIELLO Redshirt Second-Year • Wrestling After last season's ACC Championships, redshirt second-year 197-pounder Jay Aiello found himself recuperating from an in- jury he suffered during his first-round match. "I was winning by one point in the second period when my right elbow hit the mat, jacked my shoulder into its socket and tore my rotator cuff, labrum and part of my bicep tendon," Aiello said. "I didn't know it was torn until a month later [April]. We got two weeks off after the ACC Championships. By then I thought I could come back, but my shoulder hurt bad. I got an MRI and had surgery two days later. "The surgery required me to be in a sling with minimal activ- ity for six weeks. I walked six or seven miles a day. As soon as I got out of the sling, I benched with one arm and progressed as much as I could." Fast forward to this season, and Aiello was 16-5 and ranked No. 8 in the nation by InterMat as of Jan. 22. He also placed third at the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational at Las Vegas in early De- cember, even though he was unseeded and unranked. "The biggest change for me is mentally," Aiello said. "Last year, I was 12-7 and won one match out of my last nine. I broke men- tally. One loss led to another loss. "Having the injury helped me out a lot. It got me away from wrestling and helped me focus on school and faith. I realized it was about enjoying the sport." Aiello grew up in a wrestling family. Three brothers wrestled at Wheaton College — Stephen, who was a 2014 Division III All-American, his twin Frank and David. "Being the youngest, I got beat up a lot," Aiello said. "'Now, I'm the one who gets to beat up on them. "It definitely helped me a lot. … My brothers set a good example regarding what hard work was required for me to be good." — Mike Scandura Photo courtesy UVA

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