Maryland Captures 2009 ACC Wrestling Championship
March 7, 2009
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Maryland Terrapins claimed the 2009 ACC Wrestling Championship - its second-straight conference crown - Saturday at Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum. The Terps edged second-place Virginia by two points (for the second year in a row by the same margin) in the final standings and had three individual champions on the evening. Virginia Tech fell to third place after losing its finals matches.
It is the first time a team has won back-to-back ACC wrestling titles since North Carolina did it in 2005 and 2006. The Terps won the first 18 tournament titles in the league’s history and now have 20 in their program’s history.
Entering the finals, the top four teams were separated by less than nine points. Maryland led with 61.0 while Virginia Tech was right behind with 57.5, but had the most wrestlers in the final with five. Virginia sat in third place with 56.0 points while North Carolina had 51.5 points. The Terps, Cavaliers and Tar Heels placed four in the finals.
Maryland’s Brendan Byrne started the championship round with a 7-6 decision over top-seeded Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in the 125-pound title match, and then Maryland's Steven Bell picked up an 11-7 decision to win his second-straight 133-pound ACC championship.
Maryland made it three in a row with an 8-5 win over Tech’s Chris Diaz at 141 pounds by top-seeded Alex Krom. NC State's Darrion Caldwell claimed his third conference title, and second-straight at 149 pounds, with a dominating 13-1 major decision.
In the 157-pound title match, top-seeded Kody Hamrah picked up a pin at the four-minute mark to give the Wolfpack back-to-back titles. Keegan Mueller gave North Carolina its lone title of the night with a 4-1 win at 165 pounds to claim a spot in the NCAAs. At 174 pounds, Virginia's Chris Henrich picked up his NCAA bid with a 10-1 major decision win.
Virginia's Rocco Caponi won his third-straight 184-pound championship, winning 4-1 in the final thanks to a three-point nearfall in the third period. After a scoreless first two periods, Caponi turned Tech’s Tommy Spellman for back points and earned one more point for riding time.
Caponi’s teammate, Brent Jones, pulled off the biggest upset in the finals, pinning top-seeded Hudson Taylor of Maryland in just 38 seconds. Jones converted a headlock into a throw right onto Taylor’s back and eventually picked up the fall for the Cavs’ third win of the night en route to earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honor.
Top-seeded Konrad Dudziak of Duke finished up the evening with a 7-5 win at heavyweight to win his first conference title.
The 10 individual champions, along with 17 other automatic qualifiers, will go on to represent their schools in the NCAA Championships March 19-21 at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center. Additional wild cards, selected by an NCAA committee, will be announced on March 11.
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Brent Jones, VA
2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Finals
NCAA Automatic Qualifiers By Weight:
NCAA Automatic Qualifiers Qualifiers By School: