Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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16 CAVALIER CORNER JAY AIELLO Graduate Student • Wrestling Over the course of his six-year career as part of the Virginia wrestling program, Jay Aiello has proven to be an example of the six pillars of the program under head coach Steve Garland: Mind, Body, Relation- ships, Academics, Servanthood and to Compete In Such A Way. Following a first-year campaign that didn't exactly go as planned, Aiello redoubled his efforts and committed himself fully to the pil- lars of the program. Since that time, he has excelled on the mat, becoming a three-time NCAA qualifier at 197 pounds and a three- time All-ACC honoree. He has twice finished as runner-up at the ACC Championships and claimed the league title in 2020. That year, he also earned All-America honors, becoming the 16th wrestler in program history to earn the accolade. At the beginning of this fall, Aiello became the first Virginia wrestler to medal internation- ally when he claimed bronze at the U23 World Championships repre- senting the United States. Academically, Aiello has also attained a level of excellence. He has earned recognition on the ACC Academic Honor roll three times in his career, while also twice being named a Scholar All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. He has also earned a spot on the All-ACC Academic Wrestling Team. Some of his most memorable moments as a Virginia student- athlete haven't been the ones where he's achieved success, though. Aiello said some of the moments that stand out to him focus on the relationships he's built and the success of his teammates. "A lot of them are the smaller moments that may not seem as significant," Aiello said. "In my first year, George DiCamillo was a fifth- year, and we would go get coffee twice a week and just talk for an hour. Being able to pay it back when Vic Marcelli was a first-year and moments like that were really cool for me. "Also, seeing the moments when teammates who had been chas- ing success finally achieved it. Seeing Louie Hayes become an All- American last year was so cool even though it wasn't my success. Seeing his journey pay off was amazing. "Those moments being able to spend time with guys in ways you might not think about as big moments have been pretty amazing." He also said that his experience as a student-athlete at Virginia has shaped his worldview and plans for the future in ways that are important to his daily life. "I don't necessarily have specific goals that are incredibly tan- gible," Aiello said. "I want to continue to use the lessons I've learned over the last five years and continue growing as a person. When I got here, I was very immature and thought I knew things I had no clue about. I didn't realize what it meant to truly be successful in life. "This experience has shaped me in that I'm less focused on out- comes and more focused on enjoying the daily process of things. If I can enjoy my day every day no matter what happens and find some happiness and peace in each day, I'm going to have a pretty joyful life. For me, I'm not too worried about the where or what I'll be doing. "If I can keep applying the lessons of handling adversity and find- ing peace and joy in each day, I'll be in a good outcome no matter what." — Bill Bunting • Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVA Athletics EXCEPTIONAL UVA STUDENT-ATHLETES

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