ACC Begins 2015-16 Wrestling Campaign

Eight ACC Wrestlers at NWCA All-Star Classic With Virginia’s Chance McClure, North Carolina’s Chip Ness and NC State’s Chad Pyke Added To Undercard Matches; Virginia, Pitt Begins Seasons at Clarion, Terrapin Opens

Click here for ESPNU's coverage of the NWCA All-Star Classic on WatchESPN

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference begins its 63rd season of wrestling this weekend with eight wrestlers participating in the 50th Annual National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)  All-Star Classic, which will be held on this Sunday at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga.

Additionally, Pitt and Virginia begin their team competition this weekend as well with Pitt travelling to the Terrapin Open in College Park, Md., and Virginia, the defending ACC champion, participating in the Clarion Open, both on Sunday.

Nineteen weeks later, on Sunday, March 6, the league will hold its 62nd Annual Wrestling Championship, hosted by Virginia in the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. 

Three ACC wrestlers who hail from the Peach state—Chance McClure (Commerce, Ga.) of Virginia at 197, Chad Pyke (McDonough, Ga.) of NC State and Chip Ness (Dublin, Ga.) of North Carolina—will be competing in the NWCA All-Star undercard matches. McClure and Ness will face other at 197 pounds and Pyke will face Kamaal Shakur of Chattanooga at 157 pounds.

They join five selections to the All-Star Classic that are  the most in league history in the prestigious wrestling event, bettering the previous high of four set in 1995, in Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta (157), Zach Epperly (174) and Ty Waltz (285), North Carolina’s Ethan Ramos (165) and Duke’s Connor Hartmann (197).

In all, 52 ACC wrestlers have participated In the NWCA event, including current 

Virginia head coach Steve Garland. Duke head coach Glen Lanham also wrestled in the prestigious all-star event, participating for Oklahoma State in 1987.

The Classic will air live on ESPNU beginning at 5 p.m. Undercard events begin at 3:15 p.m., with the doors opened to the McCamish Center at 2:30 p.m.

The format of the Classic features two of the top invited wrestlers in the nation competing in each weight class.

Virginia Tech senior Nick Brascetta (St. Paris, Ohio), a two-time All-American who finished fourth in the 2015 NCAA Championship, will face defending NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in the 157-pound match. Brascetta is ranked third nationally in the InterMat rankings, while Martinez is again No. 1 in the weight class.

At 165 pounds, Ramos (Hawthorne, N.J.), a sophomore from UNC who finished sixth at last year’s NCAAs, will be facing two-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State. Ramos is ranked third nationally by InterMat, while Dieringer is ranked No. 1

Virginia Tech’s Epperly, (Christiansburg, Va.), a sophomore who finished seventh at last year’s NCAA championships, will face Kyle Crutchmer of Oklahoma State, who was fifth nationally at 174 pounds. Epperly is ranked fourth nationally at 174, while Crutchmer is ranked second.

Duke’s Hartmann (Port Orchard, Wash.), a senior who finished sixth in last year’s NCAA finals and is a two-time All-American, will wrestle at 197 pounds against Max Huntley of Michigan, who is ranked fifth nationally in the preseason InterMat national rankings. Hartmann, who is ranked third by InterMat, will be the first Duke wrestler chosen to participate in the prestigious NWCA event.

Finally, Virginia Tech’s Waltz (Cleveland, Ohio), a junior heavyweight who finished seventh 

in the 2015 NCAA championships, will face Michigan’s Adam Coon, who was runner-up to 2015 NCAA Champion Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State. Waltz is ranked fourth by InterMat, while Coon is ranked second nationally.

In all, the ACC returns eight of its 10 2015 All-American wrestlers this year, the most returning All-Americans in league history. The five competing in the NWCA All-Star Classic are joined by NC State two-time national champion Gwiazdowski, Virginia Tech’s Joey Dance, who earned All-American honors in 2014 at 125 pounds, and NC State sophomore All-American Kevin Jack at 141 pounds.