Seven Returning All-Americans Headline ACC in 2015 NCAA Wrestling

NC State’s Gwiazdowski Looks to Defend Title, Seeded First at 285; Pitt’s Thomusseit Seeded Second at 184

With defending NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski (Delanson, N.Y.) leading seven returning All-Americans, the Atlantic Coast Conference will have 36 wrestlers competing at the NCAA National Championship which begin Thursday and continue through Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

The conference is looking to build on an outstanding  2014 NCAA performance that saw all of its teams finish in the Top 29 nationally with nine wrestlers earning All-America honors and three reaching the championship finals.

In all, the ACC received 29 automatic bids and seven at-large invitations this year for the Championship.

Gwiazdowski became the 13th ACC wrestler to win a national title last year in Oklahoma City at 285 pounds and is unbeaten this year and the No. 1 seed in the heavyweight category.

He enters the Championship having won 50 consecutive matches, including six of his seven ACC matches by fall. He is seeking to become only the third ACC wrestler to win multiple championships and only the second to win national titles back-to-back. North Carolina’s T.J. Jaworsky and Clemson’s Sammie Henson are the only ACC wrestlers to win back-to-back titles, doing so 20 years ago. Jaworsky and Henson are also the only ACC wrestlers to win more than one NCAA championship. Henson won his titles in 1993 and 1994, while Jaworsky is the only wrestler in league history to win three national championships, capturing the 134-pound title in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

A total of six ACC wrestlers are seeking to earn back-to-back All-American citations (top eight finish), including Duke’s Conner Hartmann at 197 pounds (Port Orchard, Wash.),  Joey Dance (Christiansburg, Va.) at 125 and Devin Carter (Christiansburg, Va.) at 141 from Virginia Tech,  Nick Sulver (Cleveland, Ohio) of Virginia at 165, Tyler Wilps (Oakdale, Pa.) of Pitt at 174 and Gwiazdowski of NC State. The seventh returning All-American, Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta (St. Paris, Ohio), earned All-American honors in 2013 at 149 with an eighth-place finish, but redshirted last year. Brascetta is competing at 157 this year.

Virginia Tech’s Carter, who became only the ninth wrestler in ACC history to win four conference titles and only the second to win four titles in multiple weight classes, is seeking his third All-American citation after finishing runner-up at 141 pounds last year. Carter was a fifth-place finisher at 133 pounds as sophomore in 2012. Virginia’s Nick Sulzer, who earned All-American honors at 165 in both 2013 and 2014, is also seeking his third All-American citation. Only nine ACC wrestlers in history have been named three-time All-Americans, the last being Virginia’s Chris Heinrich in 2011.

The Conference  had 15 wrestlers receive national seeds in their respective weight classes, led by top-seeded Gwiazdowski of NC State at 285 pounds; No. 2 seed Max Thomusseit (St. Paris, Ohio) of Pitt at 184; No. 3 seed Dance of Virginia Tech at 125; and a pair of No. 4 seeds in Carter of Virginia Tech at 141 and Sulzer of Virginia at 165.

The ACC has three highly-seeded wrestlers in the 174-pound class with Virginia’s Blaise Butler (Belvidere, Ill.)  seeded fifth, following by Virginia Tech’s Zach Epperly (Christiansburg, Va.) (seventh) and Pitt’s Wilps (eighth). Wilps was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2015 ACC Wrestling Championships after winning his second consecutive ACC title at that class, which included his second win over Butler this year.

In a quirk of the draw, first-round NCAA action has four ACC wrestlers facing familiar foes. In the 125-pound class, Virginia Tech’s Dance takes on Pitt’s Dom Forys (Wexford, Pa.), a wrestler he defeated in the Pitt-Virginia dual match on Feb. 7 (10-3 decision) and in the ACC Championship on March 8 (fall, 5:57). At 133 pounds, ACC champion George DiCamillo (Highland Heights, Ohio) of Virginia will face Virginia Tech’s Kevin Norstrem (Brandon, Fla.). DiCamillo downed Norstrem in a 4-0 decision on Feb. 1. The two did not meet in the ACC Tournament.

Virginia Tech led all ACC schools with eight invitees, including five seeded wrestlers led by Dance and Carter; 149-pound Sal Mastriani (Towaco, N.J.) (seventh seed), Epperly (seventh seed) and Ty Walz (Cleveland, Ohio), the 10th seed at 285. Also earning invitations for Tech included Norstrem and Jared Haught (Parkersburg, Va.) at 197.

ACC Champion Virginia was next with seven wrestlers headed to the NCAA National Championships, including three who earned national seeds in Sulzer, Butler (fifth seed) at 174 and DiCamillo (12th seed) at 133. The Cavaliers also had Nick Herrman (Amarillo, Tex.) at 125, Joe Spisak (Boiling Springs, Pa.) at 141, Andrew Atkinson (Lynchburg, Va.) at 157 and Zach Nye (Enola, Pa.) at 197 earn NCAA invites,

Pitt, which finished second at this year’s ACC Championship, had six wrestlers selected, including three who were nationally seed in Thomusseit at 184, Wilps (eighth seed) at 174 and 16th-seeded Mikey Racciato (Pen Argyl, Pa.) at 149. Joining them are Forys at 125, Troy Reaghard (Oakdale, Pa.) at 165, and Ryan Solomon (Milton, Pa.) at 285.

NC State, North Carolina, and Duke each had five wrestlers selected.

The Wolfpack is led by No. 1-seed and defending national champion Gwiazdowski at 285, but also has Joe DeAngelo (Burlington, N.C.) at 125, Kevin Jack (Danbury, Conn.) at 141, Max Rohskopf (Killbuck, Ohio) at 165 and Peter Renda (Topton, Pa.) at 174.

The Tar Heels have two seeded wrestlers in 12th-seed Joey Ward (Cincinnati, Ohio) at 141 and 16th seed Ethan Ramos (Hawthorne, N.J.) at 165. Joining them in St. Louis will be Troy Heilmann (South {Plainfield, N.J.) at 133, Christian Barber (Westfield, N.J.) at 149 and John Michael Staudenmayer (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) at 174.

The Blue Devils, whose five NCAA participants is an all-time high for its wrestling program, are led by 2014 All-American Hartmann at 197. Hartmann enters this year’s Championship as the No. 10 seed at 197. He is joined by Mitch Finesilver (Greenwood Village, Col.) at 133, Marcus Cain (Winston-Salem, N.C.) at 149, Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Rome, Ga.) at 157 and Jacob Kasper (Lexington, Ohio) at 184.

 

ACC NCAA Wrestling Championship Qualifiers

Duke (5)
Mitch Finesilver (133)
Marcus Cain (149)
@Immanuel Kerr-Brown (157)
Jacob Kasper (184)
*Conner Hartmann (197)--#10 Seed

North Carolina (5)
Troy Heilmann (133)
Joey Ward (141)—#12 Seed
Christian Barber (149)
Ethan Ramos (165)--#15 Seed
John Michael Staudenmayer (174)

NC State (5)
@Joe DeAngelo (125)
Kevin Jack (141)
@Max Rohskopf (165)
Pete Renda (174)
*Nick Gwiazdowski (285)--#1 Seed

Pitt (6)
Dom Forys (125)
*Mikey Racciato (149)--#16 Seed
Troy Reaghard (165)
*Tyler Wilps (174)--#8 Seed
*Max Thomusseit (184)--#2 Seed
Ryan Solomon (285)

Virginia (7)
Nick Herrman (125)
*George DiCamillo (133)—#12 Seed
Joe Spisak (141)
Andrew Atkinson (157)
*Nick Sulzer (165)--#4 Seed
Blaise Butler (174)--#5 Seed
Zach Nye (197)

Virginia Tech (8)
*Joey Dance (125)--#3 Seed
@Kevin Norstrem  (133)
*Devin Carter (141)--#4 Seed
@Sal Mastriani (149)--#7 Seed
*#Nick Brascetta (157)
Zach Epperly (174)--#7 Seed
@Jared Haught (197)
@Ty Walz (285)--#10 Seed

*Denotes 2015 ACC Champion
Boldface Denotes 2014 All-American
# Denotes 2013 All-American
@Denotes At-Large Selection

 

Broadcast Information
The ESPN family of networks will provide coverage of every bout of the 2015 NCAA Championships. All six sessions of the event will air live on ESPNU or ESPN, while ESPN3 will have live feeds of every mat, starting with separate feeds from all eight mats in each of the first three sessions. 

ESPN will televise the semifinals on Friday night and the finals on Saturday night, while ESPNU will have coverage of the Thursday sessions, Friday quarterfinals and Saturday medal round. 

 

2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships 

Schedule of Events - All Times Eastern 

Thursday (March 19)

First Session – Noon (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Pigtails & First Round 

Second Session – 7 p.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Wrestleback Pigtails, Wrestleback First Round & Second Round

 

Friday (March 20)

Third Session – 11 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Quarterfinals & Wrestleback Second and Third Rounds 

Fourth Session – 8 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN3)

Semifinals & Wrestleback Fourth and Fifth Rounds

 

Saturday (March 21)

Fifth Session – 11 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Wrestleback Semifinals & Third, Fifth and Seventh-Place Rounds 

Sixth Session – 8 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN3)

Championships Finals