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UVA wrestling team pulls off stunning win at ACC Championships

uva wrestlingThe 18th-ranked UVA wrestling team pulled off a stunning upset by winning the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference wrestling championship by a comfortable margin at Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center.  The Cavaliers entered the competition seeded fourth with an ACC dual meet record of 2-3.

UVa managed to get six wrestlers to the championship finals and all 10 members of the team finished no lower than fourth place. The Cavaliers won two weight class titles and finished with 85.5 points. Pitt was second with 71 points, Virginia Tech scored 59.5 points, Duke was fourth with 44 points, UNC was fifth with 42 points and NC State was sixth with 31 points. The 10th-ranked Hokies, the defending ACC champions, cruised through the regular season, posting a perfect 5-0 dual-meet record.

It was the fifth ACC title in the program’s history. UVa also claimed championships in 1974, 1975, 1977 and 2010. It was the second title for ninth-year coach Steve Garland.

Highlighting the championship were individual titles by redshirt sophomore George DiCamillo (Highland Heights, Ohio) at 133 pounds and senior Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio) at 165 pounds. Both championships were the second for each wrestler.

DiCamillo won the 2013 ACC title at 133 and missed last season due to an injury. Sulzer repeated as the champ at 165. Sulzer, a two-time All-American who is ranked number-four nationally, became the 15th Cavalier to win back-to-back titles during their career.

“I don’t think anyone predicted this was going to happen,” Garland said. “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 placed 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.”

Also advancing to the championship matches were junior Nick Herrmann (Amarillo, Texas) at 125, redshirt freshman Andrew Atkinson (Lynchburg, Va.) at 157, junior Blaise Butler (Belvidere, Ill) at 174 and junior Zach Nye (Enola, Pa.) at 197.

All six of the wrestlers who reached the finals received automatic berths to the NCAA Championships.Also earning an NCAA bid  was senior Joe Spisak (Boiling Spring, Pa.) at 141. He placed fourth overall.

The Cavaliers had a trio of competitors place fourth in their respective weight class. TJ Miller (Medford, N.J.) at 149, Tyler Askey (Newnan, Ga.) at 184 and Patrick Gillen (Shelton, Conn.) at 285 all lost intheir third-place matches.

“We finally came together as a team, and we struggled all year with this,” Garland said. “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.”

The NCAA Championships will be held March 19-21 in St. Louis.


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