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March 1, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Defending champion Virginia is set to serve as the host school as the 57th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship gets under way Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The all-day event will feature 14 wrestlers currently ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in their respective weight classes and four wrestlers ranked among the top five, including top-ranked and 2009 NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell of NC State at 149 pounds. Virginia All-America senior Chris Henrich (174) and Maryland sophomore Josh Asper (165) are ranked fourth in their respective weight classes, while Virginia Tech’s Jesse Dong in ranked fifth at 157.
The doors to John Paul Jones Arena will open at 10 a.m., with first- round action set to begin at 11 a.m. The semifinals are set for 1 p.m., followed by the semifinal consolation matches at 3:30. The consolation finals are set for 5 p.m., followed by the championship matches at 7 p.m. All seating for the ACC Championship is general admission. Adult tickets are $10, while tickets for youth, senior citizens and students of the participating schools (with valid ID) are $5. Tickets will be good for the entire day of competition. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall, by calling the Ticket Office at (800) 542-8821 or logging on to VirginiaSports.com. The Virginia Athletics Ticket Office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
For more information on tickets, directions and Saturday’s schedule, see the ACC Wrestling Championship web site:
Updated brackets as Saturday’s action progresses can be found at:: http://www.theacc.com/championships/11-wrestling-championship-brackets.html
In addition, theACC.com plans to air a free, live on-line webcast of Championships, beginning with the consolation finals at 5 p.m., followed by the finals at 7 p.m. The broadcast may be accessed via http://www.theacc.com/allaccess/?media=226799
Henrich (174) and Dong (157) are two of six defending ACC weight class champions expected to take the mat on Saturday. Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett (125), Brian Stephens (149) and 2008 Championship MVP Matt Epperly (165) return to bolster the hopes of the ACC regular-champion Hokies. Virginia returns Matt Salopek, whose victory at 184 last year was crucial as the Cavaliers captured the team championship.
In addition, NC State’s Caldwell will be seeking his fourth individual championship. Caldwell took gold medals in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but sat out last year as a medical redshirt due to a shoulder injury.
Virginia Tech (20-4 overall) posted a 5-0 ACC record during the regular season to finish atop the ACC standings and tied the school record for dual wins in a season. Maryland (16-4) placed second in the ACC at 4-1 and won 11 of its final 12 dual matches.
Virginia (19-7, 3-2) set a school record for dual match wins. North Carolina (9-9-1, 2-3), NC State (9-10, 1-4) and Duke (2-6-1, 0-5) round out the tournament field. Virginia Tech enters the tournament ranked sixth nationally in the latest NWCA. InterMat, which ranks teams according to postseason tournament projections, ranks the Hokies, Maryland and NC State in a three-way tie for 22nd.
In addition to a team championship, ACC wrestlers will be competing to fill the conference’s 20 automatic individual weight-class spots in the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 17-19 at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena. The ACC is also hopeful of earning several spots among the 48 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 9
The breakdown of the ACC’s automatic NCAA qualifiers by weight class is as follows: 125 - 2; 133 - 1; 141 - 3; 149 - 2; 157 - 3; 165 - 2; 174 - 2; 184 - 3; 197 - 1; 285 - 1
Maryland leads all schools with 22 ACC Championships. North Carolina owns 17 ACC wrestling titles, followed by NC State with 14 and Virginia with four.
The 2011 ACC Wrestling Championship will be the first at John Paul Jones Arena, but Virginia has hosted the event on 11 previous occasions, most recently in 2004.