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Regular Season Champion and 10th-ranked Pitt, 12th-Ranked Virginia,16th-ranked Virginia Tech and Maryland Are Favorites for the 60th Annual ACC Wrestling Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Pitt, which was unbeaten this year in Atlantic Coast Conference dual meets to capture the regular season ACC title, heads into this Saturday’s ACC Wrestling Championship looking to fend off challenges by 12th-ranked Virginia, 16th-ranked Virginia Tech and unranked Maryland, to claim its first ACC Championship of any kind.
The 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship will be held this Saturday at Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. Advanced tickets are available for $5 each through the link listed below through Friday. All tickets at the championship and online Saturday will be $10 each. ACC students with a valid student ID will be admitted free of charge.
ACC Wrestling Championship page: http://theacc.co/WRESchamp
ACC Tournament Wrestling tickets: http://theacc.co/WRES14tix
Wrestling begins at 10 a.m., and all of the action will be available live on ESPN3. Here is the schedule: • First Round and Quarterfinal Consolations 10 a.m. • Semifinals 1:30 p.m. • Semifinal Consolation 3:45 p.m. • Finals Consolation 5:30 p.m. • Finals 7:30 p.m.
In addition to an ACC title, the wrestlers will be competing for a total of 34 qualifier allocations for 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championship, which will be held March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla. The allocations were awarded to the following weight classes: 125 (3), 133 (2), 141 (5), 149 (4), 157 (2), 165 (2), 174, (3), 184 (4), 197 (5) and 285 (4).
The Panthers of coach Jason Peters, who prior to joining the ACC last July 1, had won three straight Eastern Wrestling League titles, feature a lineup composed of seven wrestlers who are ranked among the nation’s top 20 in their respective weight classes in the most recent InterMat rankings. Virginia, coached by Steve Garland, has six nationally-ranked wrestlers, while Virginia Tech and Maryland have three ranked wrestlers each. North Carolina and NC State have two ranked wrestlers apiece.
In all, 24 ACC wrestlers are ranked among the top 20 in the nation in their respective weight classes, including Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock (Northhampton, Pa.) and Christian Boley (Brockport, N.Y.) and North Carolina’s Evan Henderson (New Florence, Pa.), who each won ACC titles a year ago and return to defend their crowns this year.
Sheptock, who is 26-0 overall and has not lost a match in ACC competition the past two years, is the nation’s top-ranked wrestler by InterMat at 184 pounds. The 184-pound class features four nationally-ranked wrestlers, including No. 5 Max Thomusseit (St. Paris, Ohio) of Pitt, No. 16 Nick Vetterlein (Allendale, N.J.) of Virginia Tech and No. 19 Jon Fausey (Dalmatia, Pa.) of Virginia.
Pitt’s lineup, in addition to Thomusseit, features 7th-ranked 174-pound junior Tyler Wilps (Oakdale, Pa.), 15th-ranked 141-pound freshman Edgar Bright (Cleveland, Ohio), 17th-ranked 197-pound sophomore Nick Bonaccorsi (Bethel Park, Pa.), 18th-ranked 125-pound senior Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 19th-ranked heavyweight senior P.J. Tasser (Belle Vernon, Pa.) and 20th-ranked 133-pound senior Shelton Mack (Meadville, Pa.).
Virginia’s Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio), leads the 12th-ranked Cavaliers and ranks second nationally in the 165-pound weight class after posting a 30-1 dual meet record and 6-0 in the ACC. Sulzer heads a collection of six ranked Cavaliers that includes Fausey, No. 9 Stephen Doty (174, St. Louis, Mo.), No. 11 Gus Sako (149, Cleveland, Ohio), No. 14 Blaise Butler (157, Belvidere, Ill.) and No. 16 Joe Spisak (141, Boiling Springs, Pa.).
Virginia Tech, coached by Kevin Dresser, is the defending ACC champion and will be looking to repeat on its home mat. The Hokies are led by Vetterlein, 16th-ranked 149-pound senior Zach Neibert (Dayton, Ohio) and 20th-ranked 125-pound freshman Joey Dance, who hails from nearby Christiansburg, Va.
Maryland, coached by Kerry McCoy, has won more ACC wrestling tournaments than any other school. The Terps are competing in their final ACC wrestling championship. The Terrapins are led by Sheptock and Boley, as well as by heavyweight Spencer Myers (Selinsgrove, Pa.), who is ranked 9th nationally among all in the 285-pound class.
The Terrapins have 24 ACC wrestling titles to their credit, followed by North Carolina (17), NC State (14), Virginia (4) and Virginia Tech (1).
NC State sophomore Nick Gwiazdowski (Delanson, N.Y.) is rated as the nation’s No. 3 wrestler in the heavyweight division after posting a 35-2 dual match record including an overtime win over the nation’s top-ranked heavyweight, Michael McMullan of Northwestern. Gwiazdowski will also face competition in the ACC Tournament from two other nationally-ranked wrestlers in his own division in Myers of Maryland and Pitt’s Tasser. The Wolfpack of coach Pat Popolizio also feature freshman Pete Renda (Topton, Pa.), who is ranked 19th nationally in the 174-pound weight class.
North Carolina, coached by former national champion C.D. Mock, is led by Henderson and 125-pound sophomore Nathan Kraisser (Ellicott City, Md.), who is ranked 17th nationally in his weight class and who reached the finals of the ACC Tournament last year before losing.
Duke, coached by Glen Lanham, is led by 197-pound sophomore Connor Hartmann (Port Orchard, Wash.) who is ranked 18th by InterMat and 20th by the Division I Coaches Ranking Panel, and has posted a 22-8 record, and 157-pound junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Rome, Ga.), who is 22-10 overall on the year, and 5-1 in ACC dual meet competition, and is rated 24th nationally by the same panel.