ACC Wrestlers Set For NCAA Championships

March 15, 2011

GREENSBORO, N.C. - A total of 26 wrestlers from the Atlantic Coast Conference - including seven that are nationally-seeded in their weight classes - are scheduled to compete in the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Arena.

The three-day event, which opens Thursday and continues through Saturday evening, will see 33 wrestlers compete for individual titles in their respective weight classes. A national team champion, determined by cumulative scoring, will also be crowned.

The ACC contingent will be led by 2009 NCAA Champion and top-seeded Darrion Caldwell of NC State at 149 pounds. Caldwell, a four-time ACC champion, sat out last season with a shoulder injury but has returned this season to post a 14-0 record. Caldwell is 108-12 for his career, a .900 winning percentage that ranks first in NC State history.

Other nationally-seeded wrestlers from the ACC include Maryland's Josh Asper (No. 4) at 165 pounds, Virginia Tech's Jesse Dong (No. 5) at 157, Virginia's Chris Henrich (No. 5) and Maryland's Mike Letts (No. 8) at 174, Virginia Tech's Devin Carter (No. 9) at 133, and the Hokies' Jarrod Garnett (No. 12) at 125.

Henrich, Asper, Dong and Garnett all competed in the 2010 NCAA Championships, with Henrich earning All-America honors for the second consecutive year after placing third at 174 pounds. Eleven ACC wrestlers have earned All-America recognition over the past two seasons.

Other ACC wrestlers in this year's Championship that also competed in 2010 include Virginia Tech's Chris Diaz and Virginia's Derek Valenti at 141 pounds, Virginia Tech's Brian Stephens at 149, Maryland's Kyle John at 157, North Carolina's Thomas Scotton at 165 and Virginia's Jack Danilkowicz at heavyweight.

Maryland's Letts, the ACC champion at 174 pounds and the Most Valuable Wrestler of the 2011 ACC Championship, will be making his first postseason appearance in three years. After qualifying for the NCAAs in 2007 and 2008, Letts sat out the 2009 tournament while taking a redshirt year and missed the end of last season due to an injury.

For the first-time ever, ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to air all six rounds of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship.

ESPNU HD will serve as the home of the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds Friday, March 18, starting at 10:30 a.m. and the medal round on Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m. ESPN3.com will exclusively air the first and second rounds on Thursday, March 17, beginning at 11 a.m., and provide individual coverage of all four mats of the quarterfinals. ESPN HD and ESPN3.com will present the final round on Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Todd Harris, Tim Johnson and Jeff Blatnick will call the matches on ESPN and ESPNU with Quint Kessenich reporting. Shawn Kenney and Jim Gibbons will call the action on ESPN3.com.

This marks the third consecutive year that the ACC has placed at least 25 wrestlers in the NCAA Championships field.

Listed below are the ACC's 26 NCAA participants. At-large selections are designated by an asterisk (*).

125 pounds (2)
Jarrod Garnett, Virginia Tech
Matt Snyder, Virginia

133 pounds (2)
Devin Carter, Virginia Tech
Joe Spisak, Virginia*

141 pounds (4)
Jon Kohler, Maryland
Darrius Little, NC State
Nick Nelson, Virginia
Chris Diaz, Virginia Tech*

149 pounds (3)
Darrion Caldwell, NC State
Derek Valenti, Virginia
Brian Stephens, Virginia Tech*

157 pounds (3)
Jesse Dong, Virginia Tech
Kyle John, Maryland
Corey Mock, North Carolina

165 pounds (3)
Josh Asper, Maryland
Pete Yates, Virginia Tech
Thomas Scotton, North Carolina*

174 pounds (2)
Chris Henrich, Virginia
Mike Letts, Maryland

184 pounds (3)
Diego Bencomo, Duke
Corey Peltier, Maryland
Jon Fausey, Virginia

197 pounds (1)
Zac Bennett, North Carolina

Heavyweight (3)
Spencer Myers, Maryland
Jack Danilkowicz, Virginia*
David Marone, Virginia Tech*