Hempfield Area junior Sam Krivus made two recruiting visits to the University of Virginia.
The first visit to Charlottesville came before the 2013-14 wrestling season and piqued his interest in the Cavaliers program and the university. His second visit came after the season and convinced him that "UVa" is where he wanted to be.
"The second visit came near the end of April," said Krivus, who has posted a 126-12 record in his three years with the Spartans. "I stayed overnight on that visit and got to spend time with the coaching staff and some of the wrestlers. Three days after that visit, I accepted a full scholarship offer."
Krivus' commitment to Virginia ended a search that also included offers from Ohio State and Pitt.
"I also had interest from Virginia Tech, Penn State, Cornell, Bucknell and several other schools," said Krivus, a three-time PIAA Class AAA place-winner. "I was supposed to make a visit to Ohio State after my second visit to UVa, but I cancelled the trip.
"UVa gave me just what I wanted. I really loved the academics. It's a very prestigious school that has one of the top business programs in the country. They also have a wrestling program that's becoming a team to watch at the national level. And I also loved the campus. I'm really excited to have made a decision. It's one thing I don't have to worry about during my senior year."
Krivus will join two other Pennsylvania wrestlers who will begin their college careers in September: Latrobe senior Dom Scalise and Central Dauphin senior Garrett Peppelman. Scalise was a PIAA Class AAA place-winner in March. Peppelman was a two-time PIAA Class AAA champion.
"I'm really good friends with Dom," Krivus said. "We grew up together and worked out together at times. It will be great having somebody I know on the team."
Krivus moved right into the starting lineup as a 113-pound freshman at Hempfield. He won a WPIAL Class AAA title and placed third in the state. He moved up to 120 for his sophomore year and won WPIAL and PIAA titles.
The 2013-14 season was not as kind to Krivus. He gave up a takedown at the buzzer in the WPIAL final, losing to Canon-McMillan's Dalton Macri.
The following weekend, Krivus placed fourth at Hershey after losing an overtime rideout to Zach Valley of Northampton in the semifinals. He eventually placed fourth after getting pinned by Waynesburg Central's A.C. Headlee in the consolation final.
"I rode [Headlee] the entire third period and was trying for some back points when the referee stopped the match and said I had been pinned," Krivus said. "I couldn't believe the call."
To make matters worse, Krivus was battling a flu bug.
"The day before states, I got really sick," Krivus said. "I started coughing real bad and had a sore throat. It even gave me a few bad headaches. I don't want to use that as an excuse, but it didn't help."
Shortly after the season, Krivus got a measure of revenge at Flo Nationals, a nationwide tournament that took place from April 4-6.
"I won a second Flo Nationals title and beat Zach Valley in the finals," Krivus said. "I trained real hard for 20 days with the Young Guns Wrestling Club to get ready for the tournament."
Krivus also competed with the Young Guns at the Pennsylvania Freestyle Duals on May 11 in Allentown, Lehigh County.
"We won the Junior Division title and pounded Blair Academy in the finals," Krivus said.
Krivus also had plans to wrestle at the National High School Coaches Association Duals this past weekend in Virginia Beach, Va.
"I'm wrestling for Team Griffin, along with Latrobe's Luke Pletcher and Gage Curry of North Hills," Krivus said.
Krivus is also hoping to wrestle in the USA Wrestling Junior National Championships in July at North Dakota State University, but cannot attend the qualifying tournament.
"I will be in Williamsburg, Va., that weekend on a birthday getaway with my family," Krivus said. "I'm hoping to get a waiver. I've never wrestled at Fargo before, so I'm hoping they allow me to be a part of the Pennsylvania squad."
Krivus has set lofty goals for his senior season at Hempfield.
"My goal is to go undefeated and win WPIAL and PIAA titles," said Krivus, who plans to begin the season in the 138-pound weight class. "I may drop to 132 for the postseason tournaments, depending on how much weight I gain over the summer."