Virginia Captures 61st Annual Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship

Fifth ACC Wrestling Title for the Cavaliers; Second for Coach Steve Garland

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Pittsburgh, Pa.—Fueled by placing six wrestlers in the championship finals, 18th-ranked Virginia captured its fifth Atlantic Coast Conference team wrestling title at the 61st Annual ACC Wrestling Championship held Sunday at the Petersen Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa.

      Virginia finished with 85.5 points with Pitt in second place with 71.0 points. Tenth-ranked Virginia Tech, the defending ACC champion, finished third with 59.5 points, followed by Duke (44.0), North Carolina (42.0) and NC State (31.0).

      Pitt’s Tyler Wilps of Oakdale, Pa., one of three Panthers to win individual titles, was voted the Most Valuable Wrestler for the ACC Championship by the league’s six head coaches.

      Virginia’s Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio) and George DiCamillis (Highland Heights, Ohio) led the Cavaliers, capturing individual titles at 133 and 165 pounds respectively. The title was the second for both. DiCamillis won the 133-pound title in 2013, but redshirted last year. Sulzer, a two-time All-America, who is ranked fourth nationally, repeated his 2014 title at 165.

      Additionally, Nick Herrman (125), Andrew Atkinson (157), Blaise Butler (174) and Zach Nye (197) all reached the championship finals for the Cavaliers.

      The championship for Virginia was its fifth overall ACC wrestling title and the second under head coach Steve Garland. The Cavaliers last won in 2010, but finished as the league’s runner-up in both 2012 and 2013.

      “I don’t think anyone predicted this was going to happen, said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “It was a heck of an upset win and we are really excited about being a part of something that we think is going to be a good story about Virginia Wrestling for years to come. The biggest thing I’m proud of is we had all 10 guys contribute and all 10 guys place in the top four. It’s extremely difficult to do that with how tough this conference is, and that’s what won us this tournament for us.

      “We finally came together as a team, and we struggled all year with this. Today these guys were faithful to each other, they were faithful with the gifts and talents they’ve blessed with and they were faithful with the opportunity, and they seized the moment. That’s why we won.”

      Pitt, ranked 25th nationally heading into the Championship, received  three individual titles from Mikey Racciato (149), Wilps (174) and Max Thomusseit (184), giving the hometown fans a great deal to cheer about. Wilps repeated his 2014 championship with a 4-1 decision over Virginia’s Butler.

      Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter (Christiansburg, Va.) captured his fourth ACC individual title, defeating North Carolina’s Joey Ward at 141 pounds. Carter becomes only the ninth wrestler in ACC history to do so and only the third in league history to win four titles in multiple weight classes. Carter won the ACC championship in 2011 and 2012, redshirted in 2013, then won at 141 last year and this year.

      Carter was one of three Hokies who captured individual titles including Joey Dance at 125 and Nick Brascetta at 157.  Brascetta captured his third ACC individual title with a 13-4 major decision over Virginia’s Andrew Atkinson. Brascetta previously captured ACC titles at 149 pounds in 2012 and 2013.

      NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski (Delanson, N.Y.), the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 285 pounds, captured his second straight ACC title and extended his unbeaten streak to 50 consecutive matches, downing Pitt’s Ryan Solomon with a major decision (14-3) in the finals. Though thoroughly dominating the match, it marked the first time this year Gwiazdowski, the defending national champion, did not win an ACC match by fall.

      All of the finalists compose the 2015 All-ACC Wrestling team including Joey Dance of Virginia Tech and Nick Herrman of Virginia at 125 pounds; George DiCamillo of Virginia and Mitch Finesilver of Duke at 133;  Devin Carter of Virginia Tech and Joey Ward of North Carolina; Mikey Racciato of Pitt and Christian Barrber of North Carolina at 149; Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech and Andrew Atkinson of Virginia at 157 pounds; Nick Sulzer of Virginia and Ethan Ramos of North Carolina; Tyler Wilps of Pitt and Blaise Butler of Virginia at 174; Max Thomusseit of Pitt and Jacob Kasper of Duke at 184; Conner Hartmann of Duke and Zach Nye of Virginia at 197l and Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State and  Ryan Solomon of Pitt.

      All of the finalists also received automatic bids to the NCAA National Championships, which will be held March 19-21 at St. Louis, Mo. Also earning automatic bids Sunday night were Pitt’s Dom Forys at 125 pounds; North Carolina’s Troy Heilmann at 133; Virginia’s Joe Spisak and NC State’s Kevin Jack at 141; Duke’s Marcus Cain at 149; Pitt’s Troy Reaghard at 165; and John Michael Staudenmayer of North Carolina, Zach Epperly of Virginia Tech and Pete Renda of NC State at 174 pounds.

Team Scores
1. Virginia, 85.5
2. Pitt, 71.0
3. Virginia Tech, 59.5
4. Duke, 44.0
5.  North Carolina, 42.0
6. NC State, 31.0

Most Valuable Wrestler—Tyler Wilps, Pitt

Individual Results—Championship Finals

125 Pounds---Joey Dance, Virginia Tech dec. Nick Herrman, Virginia, 6-2
133 Pounds--George DiCamillo, Virginia dec. Mitch Finesilver, Duke, 12-6
141 Pounds--Devin Carter, Virginia Tech dec. Joey Ward, North Carolina, 11-3
149 Pounds--Mikey Racciato, Pitt dec.    Christian Barber, North Carolina, SV-1, 3-1
157 Pounds--Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech major dec. Andrew Atkinson, Virginia, 13-4
165 Pounds--Nick Sulzer, Virginia dec. Ethan Ramos, North Carolina, 5-2
174 Pounds--Tyler Wilps, Pitt dec. Blaise Butler, Virginia, 4-1
184 Pounds--Max Thomusseit, Pitt major dec.  Jacob Kasper, Duke, 14-6
197 Pounds--Conner Hartmann, Duke dec. Zach Nye, Virginia, 6-5
285 Pounds--Nick Gwiazdowski, NC State major dec. Ryan Solomon, Pitt, 14-3