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Pitt Hosts First ACC Championship; 10th-Ranked Virginia Tech Favored for Team Title
GREENSBORO, N.C.— While 10th-ranked Virginia Tech may be the team favorite to win its third consecutive ACC title, the competition for the 61st Annual ACC Wrestling Championship will be an intense one for the Hokies, who will be facing tough challenges from the other five conference schools, including three programs which are nationally-ranked in No. 17 NC State, No. 18 Virginia and 25th-ranked and host Pitt
This year’s ACC Championship will be held this Sunday, March 8 beginning at 11 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) at the Petersen Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
Doors open at 10 a.m., with first round matches at 11. The Semifinals will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the Consolation Semifinals (3:30 p.m.), the Consolation Finals (5:30 p.m.) and the Finals (7:03 p.m.).
Tickets for the one day championship are on sale now. Admission to the Petersen Events Center is $10 for adults and $5 for both youth 12-and-under and senior citizens. All tickets are general admission and can be purchased online, calling 800-643-PITT (7488), or visiting the Panthers Ticket Office located in the lobby of the Petersen Events Center. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the event.
The entire ACC Wrestling Championship will also be available on ESPN3, with live feeds provided simultaneously off of each mat during the preliminary rounds and one feed during the championship round. Shawn Kenney, Dean Linke, Gerard Harrison and Joe Cesari will handle the play-by-play and analysis.
Tech captured the ACC regular season title, winning all five of its ACC dual matches. No ACC team has won three straight Wrestling titles since North Carolina won four straight from 1997 through 2000.
The Hokies, coached by Kevin Dresser, will be led by senior Devin Carter (Christiansburg, Va.), who is seeking to become just the ninth wrestler in ACC history to win four ACC individual championships and just the third to win four titles in multiple weight classifications. Carter captured ACC titles at 133 pounds in 2011 and 2012, redshirted in 2013, then won last year at 141 pounds. Carter, who was chosen the Most Valuable Wrestler at last year’s championship, is ranked third nationally at 141 pounds and is one of 13 ACC wrestlers who are ranked among the nation’s Top 10 in the most recent rankings by the NCAA Division I Coaches Panel.
Two other Tech wrestlers, Joey Dance (Christiansburg, Va.) at 125 and Nick Brascetta (St. Paris, Ohio) at 157 earned No. 1 seeds for the championship, while Tech also had two others—Sal Mastriani (Towaco, N.J.) at 149 pounds and Ty Walz (Cleveland, Ohio) at 285—earn No. 2 seeds.
The host Panthers, coached by Jason Peters, also garnered three No. 1 seeds with Mikey Racciato (Pen Argyl, Pa.) at 149, Tyler Wilps (Oakdale, Pa.) at 174 and Max Thomusseit (St. Paris, Ohio) as voted by the ACC head coaches.
Wilps is one of five 2014 ACC individual champions who are seeking to repeat this year. Joining him are Carter, Virginia’s Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio) and Blaise Butler (Belvidere, Ill.), Duke’s Conner Hartman (Port Orchard, Wash.) and NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski (Delanson, N.Y.).
Tech’s Brascetta is seeking his third ACC title, having won at 149 pounds in 2012 and 2013, while Virginia’s George DiCamillo (Highland Heights, Ohio), the No. 1 seed this year at 133, is looking for his second ACC title, having taken the crowd at 133 in 2013.
Wilps may also have the toughest road to repeat as he will face two other wrestlers who are ranked nationally in the Top 10 in Virginia’s Butler (who won at 157 last year but is wrestling at 174 this year) and Virginia Tech’s Zach Epperly (Christiansburg, Va.). Butler is ranked fifth nationally at 174, with Epperly ranked seventh and Wilps eighth.
Thomusseit, ranked No 2 nationally, is the favorite to claim the 184-pound title after posting 5-0 mark in ACC competition as is Racciato, who is 18th-ranked nationally and also won all five of his ACC matches. Racciato, though, did not face Virginia Tech’s Sal Mastriani in the regular season, Mastriani is ranked 7th natinonally.
The 165-pound weight class should also be an interesting one, where Virginia’s Sulzer, ranked fourth nationally, has been unbeaten in ACC competition the past two years except for a sudden victory loss to North Carolina redshirt freshman Ethan Ramos (Hawthorne, N.J.) this past Feb. 7. Ramos is ranked 10th nationally and is the top seed heading into the Championship at 165.
Virginia, coached by Steve Garland, has four wrestlers seeded first or second including top seeded DiCamillo and second seeded Sulzer, Butler, and Zach Nye (Enola, Pa.) at 197.
NC State, coached by Paul Popolizio, has only two wrestlers seeded for or second, but Gwiazdowski, who enters the Championship as the nation’s No 1-ranked wrestler at 285 pounds, has been the league’s most dominant performer this year. Gwiazdowski, also the nation’s defending national champion, has won 48 consecutive matches, a streak that dates back to the middle of last year, and has pinned each of his five ACC challengers this year.
The Wolfpack, which also has second-seeded Joe DeAngelo (Burlington, N.C.) at 125, is perhaps the league’s hottest wrestling team, having won nine of their last 12 matches, with losses only coming to Top 10 teams Virginia Tech, No. 3 Missouri and No. 6 Oklahoma State.
North Carolina, coached by C.D. Mock, has three wrestlers seeded first or second including Ramos, second-seeded Joey Ward (Cincinnati, Ohio) at 141 pounds and Troy Heilmann (South Plainfield, N.J.) at 133. The Tar Heels finished the year just out of the Top 25 at No. 26 in the NWCA/USA Today Rankings.
Duke, coached by Glen Lanham, also has three wrestlers seeded first or second including Hartmann, who placed third in 2014 at 197 pounds and is currently ranked 7th nationally, and second-seeded Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Rome, Ga.) at 157 and Jacob Kasper (Lexington, Ohio) at 184. The Blue Devils won 11 dual matches this winter, its most wins since 2007-08.
The 2015 ACC Wrestling Championship Seeds:
125—1. Joey Dance, Virginia Tech; 2. Joe DeAngelo, NC State; 3. Nick Herrman, Virginia; 4. Dom Forys, Pitt; 5. Thayer Atkins, Duke; 6. Cody Karns, North Carolina.
133—1. George DiCamillo, Virginia; 2. Troy Heilmann, North Carolina; 3. Kevin Norstrem, Virginia Tech;4. Bryce Meredith, NC State; 5. Nick Zanetta, Pitt; 6. Mitch Finesilver, Duke.
141—1. Devin Carter, Virginia Tech; 2. Joey Ward, North Carolina; 3. Kevin Jack, NC State;4. Joe Spisak, Virginia; 5. Evan Botwin, Duke; 6. Ben Ross, Pitt.
149—1. Mikey Racciato, Pitt; 2. Sal Mastriani, Virginia Tech; 3. Christian Barber, North Carolina; 4. Marcus Cain, Duke; 5. T.J. Miller, Virginia; 6. Sam Speno, NC State.
157—1. Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech; 2. Immanuel Kerr-Brown, Duke; 3. Andrew Atkinson, Virginia; 4. Ronnie Garbinsky, Pitt; 5. Chris Mears, North Carolina; 6. Chad Pyke, NC State.
165—1. Ethan Ramos, North Carolina; 2. Nick Sulver, Virginia; 3. Chad Strube, Virginia Tech; 4. Jake Faust, Duke; 5. Max Rohskopf, NC State; 6. Troy Reaghard, Pitt.
174—1. Tyler Wilps, Pitt; 2. Blaise Butler, Virginia; 3. Zach Epperly, Virginia Tech; 4. John Michael Staudenmayer, North Carolina; 5. Pete Renda, NC State; 6. Trey Adamson, Duke.
184—Max Thomusseit, Pitt; 2. Jacob Kasper, Duke; 3. Nicky Hall, NC State; 4. Tyler Askey, Virginia; 5. Scott Marmoll, North Carolina; 6. Tae Leary, Virginia Tech.
197—1. Conner Hartmann, Duke; 2. Zach Nye, Virginia; 3. Jared Haught, Virginia Tech; 4. Michael Boykin, NC State; 5. Chip Ness, North Carolina; 6. Nick Bonaccorsi, Pitt.
285—1. Nick Gwaizdowski, NC State; 2. Ty Walz, Virginia Tech; 3. Ryan Solomon, Pitt; 4. Patrick Gillen, Virginia; 5. Frank Abbondanza, North Carolina; 6. Brendan Walsh, Duke
2015 ACC Wrestling Championship Schedule
Sunday, March 8, 2015, Petersen Events Center, University of Pittsburgh
10 a.m. Doors Open
11 a.m. First Round Matches
1 p.m. Semifinals
3:30 p.m. Consolation Semifinals
5:03 p.m. Consolation Finals
7:03 p.m. Finals