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Renda Keys Wolfpack’s Historic Win Over No. 2 Iowa; Ward Defeats Nation’s No. 1 Wrestler at 141 Pounds
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) — NC State junior Pete Renda and North Carolina redshirt junior Joey Ward shared Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestler of the Week honors this week, the ACC announced on Tuesday.
Renda, from Toplin, Pa., wrestling at 184 pounds, upset ninth-ranked Sammy Brooks of Iowa, 7-3, to lead the fourth-ranked Wolfpack to a 21-17 upset win over the second-ranked Hawkeyes in Iowa City. The team win was the first by an ACC school over Iowa in wrestling.
Renda, ranked 16th nationally before the match, avenged an earlier, 8-7 loss to Brooks in the Midlands Championships on Dec. 30, and his win gave the Wolfpack a 15-14 lead with two bouts remaining, setting the stage for NC State heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski to clinch the dual meet victory.
With the win, Renda moved up to 12th in this week’s national rankings by InterMat.
Ward, from Cincinnati, Ohio, pulled off a major upset in the Tar Heels’ loss to third-ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Ward defeated OSU’s Dean Heil, the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds. Ward used a takedown in the first sudden victory period to hand Heil his first loss of the season. Ward, who entered the match ranked 9th nationally by InterMat, moved up to No. 6 this week.
The loss for Heil was his first in 25 matches this year, and his first since losing to Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter in last year’s NCAA Championship. Ward later defeated Ty Buckiso (2-1) of the Citadel to improve to 16-3 overall and 10-2 in duals this year.
Renda and Ward were chosen from an impressive pool of nominees that also included Jake Faust of Duke and Joey Dance of Virginia Tech.
Faust, a redshirt junior from Lexington, Ohio, won a pair of bonus victories at 165 pounds as Duke split a pair of road contests against Big Ten foes, dropping a 20-19 decision on criteria to Northwestern, then upsetting 23rd-ranked Purdue, 28-18.
Faust earned a major decision over Luke Norland of Northwestern, 15-5, on Friday night before claiming a 15-0 technical fall on Sunday against Purdue’s Andy Hoselton.
Dance, a junior from Christiansburg, Va., wrestling at 125 pounds, got the Hokies’ 24-11 win off to a strong start in the National Duals at eighth-ranked Michigan. Dance recorded an 11-9 sudden victory over 20th-ranked Conor Youtsey. Ranked third nationally, Dance defeated the wrestler who ended his 2015 season in the NCAA Championship a year ago, using a pair of take downs in the overtime period to claim the win. Tech, ranked fifth nationally, would go on to dominate the dual.
All four wrestlers will be competing in the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship which will be hosted by the University of Virginia on Sunday, March 6. The one-day tournament, which will take place at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., will begin at 11 a.m.
Tickets are now on sale and can be obtained through the following link:
The 2016 ACC Wrestling Tournament website is now available at the following link:
2015-16 ACC Wrestlers of the Week
Nov. 10—Ty Walz, Virginia Tech (285)
Nov. 17—Solomon Chishko, Virginia Tech (141)
Nov. 24—Mikey Racciato, Pitt (141)
Dec. 8—Nick Gwiazdowski, NC State (285) and Ty Walz, Virginia Tech (285)
Dec. 16—Dom Forys, Pitt (133)
Jan. 5—Tommy Gantt, NC State (157)
Jan. 12—Cody Wiercioch, Pitt (165)
Jan. 19—Conner Hartmann, Duke (197)
Feb. 2—Michael Boykin, NC State (197)
Feb. 9—Zack Zavatsky, Virginia Tech (184)
Feb. 16—Jake Faust, Duke (165) and Kevin Jack, NC State (141)
Feb. 23—Pete Renda, NC State (184) and Joey Ward, North Carolina (141)