Maryland Claims Second Straight ACC Wrestling Championship
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Keyed by four gold medal winners and a consistent effort in the earlier rounds, the Maryland Terrapins successfully defended their Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship on Saturday at Carmichael Arena.
The Terps, who shared the regular-season championship with Virginia and Virginia Tech, led the team scoring with 83 points. The Cavaliers followed with 73.5, while the Hokies placed third at 70.5. NC State was fourth with 47.5 points, followed by host North Carolina with 38 and Duke with 17.5.
The team title was the ACC-leading 24th for the Terps, their fourth in five seasons, and their third in four years under current head coach Kerry McCoy. Virginia Tech's Pete Yates was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after taking the gold medal in dramatic fashion at 165 pounds. Yates scored a6-4 sudden victory over Maryland's Josh Asper, handing the reigning ACC Wrestler of the Year his first loss in 24 dual matches this season.
The Terps entered the championship round with 67 points to narrowly lead Virginia (64.5) and Virginia Tech (60.5). Maryland also held the edge in wrestlers participating in the finals with seven. Virginia Tech placed five in the championship round, while Virginia had three.
Virginia's 11th-ranked Matt Snyder prevailed in the first final, edging Maryland's Shane Genrty, 3-1, at 125. Virginia Tech's Devin Carter followed by successfully defending his ACC title at 133 pounds, downing Maryland's Geoffrey Alexander by a 17-9 major decision. The 133-pound match was the first of four championship bouts that paired wrestlers from Maryland and Virginia Tech.
The 141-pound title bout showcased a pair of top-10 ranked wrestlers and lived up to its billing, with Virginia's No. 7 Nick Nelson outlasting NC State's No. 10 Darrius Little by a 3-2 count on a tie-breaker. Virginia Tech then picked up its second victory of the finals as Nick Brascetta outlasted NC State's Matt Nereim, 8-4.
Kyle John grabbed Maryland's first gold medal and only pin of the championship round, taking down North Carolina's Corey Mock in 4:11 in the 157-pound weight class. The eighth-ranked Yates then delivered his huge win for the Hokies, turning back the Terps' second-ranked Asper for the sudden-death victory. At that point in the match, Maryland clung to just a 1½ point lead over both Virginia and Virginia Tech.
But a 10-2 major decision by Maryland's 11th-ranked Jimmy Sheptock over Virginia Tech's Chris Moon at 174 clinched the championship for the Terps, who still had two more top-10 ranked wrestlers waiting in the wings.
Jon Fausey earned Virginia's third gold medal with a 4-1 decision over North Carolina's Thomas Ferguson at 184. The Terps then closed out in grand style, with fifth-ranked Christian Boley winning by major decision (13-3) over UNC's Zac Bennett at 197 and Spencer Myers defending his heavyweight title with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Virginia Tech's Chris Penny.
Each of the 10 ACC weight class champions were among the 24 conference wrestlers that automatically qualify for the NCAA Wrestling Championship, scheduled March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The NCAA will announced additional at-large qualifiers next Wednesday (March 7).
Virginia Tech: 70.5
NC State: 47.5
North Carolina: 38
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH RESULTS
125 - Matt Snyder (VA) dec. Shane Gentry (MD), 3-1
133 - Devin Carter (VT) major dec. Geoffrey Alexander (MD), 17-9
141 - Nick Nelson (VA) dec. Darrius Little (NCS), 3-2; TB2
149 - Nick Brascetta (VT) dec. Matt Nereim (NCS), 8-4
157 - Kyle John (MD) fall over Corey Mock (NC), 4:11
165 - Pete Yates (VT) dec. Josh Asper (MD), 6-4; SV
174 - Jimmy Sheptock (MD) major dec. Chris Moon (VT)
184 - Jon Fausey (VA) dec. Thomas Ferguson (NC), 4-1
197 - Christian Boley (MD) major dec. Zac Bennett (NC), 13-3
285 - Spencer Myers (MD) dec. Chris Penny (VT), 3-1
*The champion and runner-up in each weight class earn All-ACC honors for the 2011-12 season
NCAA AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS (24)
125 (3) - Matt Snyder (VA), Shane Gentry (MD), Colton Fought (NCS)
133 (3) - Devin Carter (VT), Geoffrey Alexander (MD), Matt Nelson (VA)
141 (4) - Darrius Little (NCS), Nick Nelson (VA), Tanner Hough (DU), Zach Neibert (VT)
149 (2) - Matt Nereim (NCS), Nick Brascetta (VT)
157 (3) - Corey Mock (NC), Kyle John (MD), Colton Palmer (NCS)
165 (3) - Josh Asper (MD), Pete Yates (VT), Nick Sulzer (VA)
174 (2) - Jimmy Sheptock (MD), Chris Moon (VT)
184 (2) - Jon Fausey (VA), Thomas Ferguson (NC)
197 (1) - Christian Boley (MD)
285 (1) - Spencer Myers (MD)
Note: The ACC will send 24 automatic qualifiers to the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championship at St. Louis on March 15-17. Additional at-large selections will be announced by the NCAA on March 7.