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Tech Grappler Wins Title at Prestigious Midlands Championships
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Virginia Tech sophomore Joey Dance is the Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestler of the Week after winning the individual title at 125 pounds at the prestigious Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. last week.
Dance, from Christiansburg, Va., won five straight matches to take the title, the first for a Virginia Tech grappler since 2012. Dance defeated 14th-ranked Josh Rodriguez of San Diego State, 7-1, in the semifinals and Iowa’s Thomas Gillman, the nation’s fourth-ranked wrestler, 3-1, in the second sudden victory in the championship.
The five wins pushed his overall record for the year to 16-2 and led Virginia Tech to a fifth-place finish in the Midlands. Dance is now ranked fourth nationally at 125 pounds by InterMat.
Dance earned selection over a trio of ACC wrestlers in Pitt’s Max Thomusseit (St. Paris, Ohio), Duke’s Connor Hartmann (Port Orchard, Wash.) and North Carolina’s Joey Ward (Cleveland, Ohio). He becomes the second straight Tech wrestler to earn ACC Wrestler of the Week honors, following in the footsteps of redshirt freshman Zach Epperly who was honored on Dec. 23.
Thomusseit captured four straight matches at 184 pounds in the prestigious Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn., before dropping the championship bout to seventh-ranked Gabriel Dean of Cornell. Along the way, Thomusseit defeated 15th-ranked Ben Stroh of Wyoming (7-4) and third-ranked Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh (3-1).
Hartmann won three of four matches at 197 pounds to finish second at the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga. He defeated 15th-ranked Eliott Riddick of Lehigh in the semifinals before losing to the nation’s top-ranked wrestler, J’den Cox of Missouri in the championship (6-1).
Ward won five of seven matches at 141 pounds at the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, losing only to a pair of nationally-ranked foes.
The 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championships will be held Sunday, March 8 at the Petersen Events Center on camps at Pitt in Pittsburgh, Pa. All tickets are general admission and are priced $10 for adults, $5 for youth and seniors, with all ACC students admitted free with a valid institutional ID.
2014-15 ACC Wrestlers of the Week
Dec. 16—Nick Gwiazdowski, NC State (Hwt.); Nick Sulzer, Virginia (165); and Max Thomusseit, Pitt (184)
Dec. 23—Zach Epperly, Virginia Tech (174)
Jan. 6—Joey Dance, Virginia Tech (125)