NC State's Caldwell Voted ACC Wrestler of the Year; Hokies' Garnett Top Freshman
March 27, 2009
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Less than a week after bringing home the first NCAA title by an Atlantic Coast Conference wrestler in 14 years, NC State's Darrion Caldwell received the league's ultimate honor on Friday.
Caldwell, a 149-pound junior from Rahway, N.J., was named ACC Wrestler of the Year in voting by the conference's six head coaches.
Virginia Tech's Jarrod Garnett, whose stellar season at 125 pounds helped the Hokies to a 20-2 dual meet record and a 5-0 mark vs. ACC competition during the regular season, received the nod as Freshman of the Year.
ACC Coach of the Year honors went to Kerry McCoy, who guided Maryland to its second straight ACC Championship in his first year at the helm in College Park.
Caldwell won the NCAA championship at 149 pounds with a tremendous 11-6 decision over previously unbeaten and defending national champion Brent Metcalf of Iowa last Saturday in St. Louis. The win by Caldwell is widely viewed as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Caldwell was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
With the victory, Caldwell became the ACC's 15th NCAA wrestling champion. He finished the season with a 10-match winning streak - six by major decision, one by technical fall and one by pin. Caldwell is NC State's first All-American since 1996 (Mike Miller) and its first two-time All-American since 1992-93 (Sylvester Terkay).
Caldwell finished the season at 38-1, went unbeaten in ACC matches and placed first in his weight class at the ACC Championships in Blacksburg, Va., on March 7. He now has a career record of 95-12 with 50 pins.
Virginia Tech's Garnett finished as the nation's No. 12 wrestler in the 125-pound weight class in the final InterMat/NWCA/NWMA individual rankings. The Newark, Del., native posted a 38-8 overall dual meet record in addition to his unbeaten mark in ACC regular-season bouts.
After a second-place finish in the ACC Championships, Garnett competed in last week's NCAAs and posted a 2-2 record.
McCoy, who stepped on board at Maryland last May after a successful three-year run at Stanford, led the Terps to a third-place regular-season ACC finish, then saw his team peak in capturing the program's 22nd title.
Maryland wrestlers placed among the top four in eight of the 10 weight classes at the ACC Championships, including three individual champions. Three Terps went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, and Maryland's 10th-place finish was the highest among ACC teams.
Caldwell and Garnett also earned spots on the All-ACC team, which went to the champion and runner-up in each weight class at the ACC Championshps. The All-ACC team consists of six wrestlers who went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships - Caldwell, Duke's Konrad Dudziak (285), Virgina's Chris Henrich (174) and the Maryland trio of Steven Bell (133), Alex Krom (141) and Hudson Taylor (197).
Dudziak, the first Duke wrestler to earn All-America honors, finished as the national runner-up in his weight class. Maryland's Taylor matched last season's third-place NCAA finish. Krom placed fifth in his weight class, while Bell finished sixth. Henrich, who placed seventh at 174 pounds, became Virginia's 10th All-American and the first since 2004.
A total of 33 ACC wrestlers competed in this year's NCAA Championships.
The complete list of 2009 ACC wrestling honorees is as follows:
2009 ACC Wrestler of the Year
Darrion Caldwell, NC State
2009 ACC Freshman of the Year
Jarrod Garnett, Virginia Tech
2009 ACC Wrestling Coach of the Year
Kerry McCoy, Maryland
2009 All-Atlantic Coast Conference
125 - Brendan Byrne, Jr., Maryland*
125 - Jarrod Garnett, Fr., Virginia Tech
133 - Steven Bell, Jr. Maryland*
133 - Mike Rappo, So., North Carolina
141 - Alex Krom, Jr., Maryland*
141 - Chris Diaz, So., Virginia Tech>
149 - Darrion Caldwell, Jr., NC State*
149 - Nick Stabile, So., North Carolina
157 - Kody Hamrah, Sr., NC State*
157 - Jesse Dong, Fr., Virginia Tech
165 - Keegan Mueller, Sr., North Carolina*
165 - Mike Sewell, Sr., Virginia
174 - Chris Henrich, So., Virginia*
174 - Anthony Trongone, Fr., Virginia Tech
184 - Rocco Caponi, Sr. Virginia*
184 - Tommy Spellman, So., Virginia Tech
197 - Brent Jones, Jr., Virginia*^
197 - Hudson Taylor, Jr., Maryland
285 - Konrad Dudziak, Jr., Duke*
285 - Justin Dobies, Sr., North Carolina
* - indicates ACC Champion