Carolina Claims Back-To-Back ACC Wrestling Titles
March 4, 2006
LEXINGTON, Va. - Led by three individual league champions and four runner-up finishers, the University of North Carolina won its second consecutive - and 17th overall - Atlantic Coast Conference wrestling championship Saturday at MatJam 2006 at the Virginia Military Institute's Cameron Hall. The Tar Heels scored 90.5 points to outdistance the field by 26.5 points and win its second league crown under third-year head coach C.D. Mock and third in the last four seasons.
Runner-up NC State was second with 64 points, followed by Virginia with 61 points and Maryland with 48. Virginia Tech (44.5 points) and Duke (14) rounded out the standings. Winners of 11 of the 15 ACC championships since 1992, the Tar Heels have 17 all-time titles, which is second to Maryland's 20.
Redshirt freshman Jared Royer (133), senior Garrett Atkinson (165) and sophomore Alex Maciag (174) each claimed individual titles and secured spots in the 2006 NCAA Championships March 16-18 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Select other ACC wrestlers will earn at-large entry into the nationals field.
Junior Bobby Shaw (125), redshirt freshman Vincent Ramirez (141), junior David Dashiell (197) and junior heavyweight Spencer Nadolsky each posted runner-up finishes and earned all-conference honors. The Tar Heels led all teams with seven grapplers in their respective weight class finals.
Wrestling in place of All-America Evan Sola for much of the season, Royer opened with an upset over top-seeded Eric Albright of Virginia to reach the 133-pound final. The Cumberland, Pa., native then picked up a pair of first period takedowns and held on for a 6-3 win over Maryland's Brendan Byrne to claim his first-ever conference title. Royer is now 19-16 this season.
The defending champ at 165, Atkinson had a first-round bye and followed with a 6-4 victory over Virginia Tech's Tucker Michels to move on the final against Virginia's Damian Johnson. The Boone, N.C., product notched a second period takedown and tacked on a reversal and over two minutes of riding time to post a 5-1 win for his second career conference crown. Atkinson is now 16-9 this season.
Seeded first at 174, Maciag followed a bye with a 7-5 decision over Duke's Levi Craig to move on to the final against UVa's Mike Grogan. Maciag dominated Grogan to the tune of a 16-5 major decision to claim his first-ever conference title. Now 24-13, Maciag jumped out early with a first period takedown and three-point near fall and carried a 13-3 lead into the third period.
Ramirez advanced to the final with out allowing a single point, posting major decisions over NC State's Jalil Dozier (12-0) and Virignia's Nick Alparone (8-0). The Durham, N.C., native faced Virginia Tech's David Hoffman in the final where the 17th-ranked Hoffman got retribution for Ramirez's regular season win with a 10-6 victory in the ACC final. The loss snapped a 17-match winning streak for Ramirez, who now sports a 37-7 record.
Seeded third at 125, Shaw reached the final with a 4-0 opening round win over Duke's Kellan McKeon and followed with a 4-2 upset of Virginia's Anthony Burke to move on the final against Virginia Tech's Justin Staylor. Staylor posted a 10-3 win over Shaw to claim the ACC title. Shaw is now 21-17 on the season.
A two-time champion at 197, Dashiell reached his third final in the last four years thanks to a 7-4 win over Konrad Dudziak of Duke and an 8-6 decision over Virginia's Brent Jones in the semis. In the final against NC State's Ryan Goodman, the 18th-ranked Dashiell fell behind early and a late rally fell short as No. 13-ranked Goodman earned a point for riding time to post a 5-3 victory.
Ranked 12th nationally, Nadolsky had a first-round bye and then posted a 3-2 decision over Virginia's Nick Smith to move on to face Virginia Tech's Mike Faust in the final. Both ranked among the top 12 heavyweights in the country, Faust and Nadolsky battled to a stalemate in overtime, with the sixth-ranked Faust taking the title 4-3 on 13 seconds of riding time. Nadolsky is now 39-5 on the season and is tied for fourth on the Tar Heels' single-season win list.
Junior Deon Barrett was third at 157, as was sophomore Justin Dobies at 184. Barrett scored a 4-2 win over Virginia's Mike Sewell in the consolation final, and Dobies notched a 5-2 victory over Duke's Dan Fox in the third-place bout. Sophomore Chris Ramos rounded out the scoring for the Tar Heels with a fourth-place finish at 149.