Chapel Hill, N.C. (theACC.com)— Virginia Tech, led by redshirt freshman Brent Moore, captured its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship before a raucous crowd of 2,891 fans at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill Saturday.
Virginia Tech finished first with 81.0 points, followed by NC State (73.0), North Carolina (52.5), Duke (47.5), Virginia (34.0) and Pitt (33.5).
The Hokies previously won titles in 2013 and 2014, and have now captured four ACC Wrestling titles in six years. Tech, ranked 10th nationally, won four individual titles on its way to its second consecutive ACC title under head coach Tony Robie. Robie guided Tech to a win last year as interim head coach.
The #Hokies are bringing hardware back to Blacksburg!— Hokie Club (@HokieClub) March 4, 2018
4 individual ACC champions , 8 National qualifies, and a team Championship for @HokiesWrestling.
Be a part of of the #Hokies' positive momentum, join the @HokieClub today https://t.co/LnklZGfAxZ pic.twitter.com/TOgfhsqAsV
“It feels good,” said Robie. “We felt good about it coming in. We really, really did. I felt like if we went out and wrestled up to our abilities, I felt like we had a very, very good chance of winning this thing. So not really surprised, but happy with the effort for the most part. We had guys that were scrapping. Even in a couple of matches that we lost in the finals, our effort was really, really good. Credit to our coaching staff for getting these guys ready to go and helping these guys develop through the course of the season. Guys just kept improving and improving, and credit to our guys for believing in themselves.”
None of the titles was bigger than Moore’s upset win over NC State’s Kevin Jack at 141 pounds. Jack is the nation’s fourth-ranked wrestler, but Moore claimed a sudden victory 6-4 decision to propel the Hokies to the win. Moore, ranked 25th in the most recent NCAA Coaches rankings, recorded his first win over Jack
“The score didn’t show it, but I just knew there were a couple of things that I had to tweak from match against him in Raleigh,” said Moore. “I knew had to weather the storm, watch for his low shot to my left leg. I’ve been working on sprawling and getting my hips square and staying relaxed. It turned out well for me here.
“It hadn’t even hit me yet. I’m not going to say I didn’t have any expectation to win. I wanted to focus on my effort and stay in a good position and weather the storm early in the match. I wore him out and was able to get the takedown in overtime.”
Moore was joined by teammates senior Dennis Gustafson at 133, sophomore David McFadden at 165, and senior Jared Haught at 197 in winning ACC individual championships.
NC State, ranked sixth nationally coming into the Championship, received wins from junior Sean Fausz at 125, freshman Hayden Hidlay at 157 and Pete Renda at 184 to make it close. But Haught’s two-tiebreaker win over State’s Michael Macchiavello removed all doubt about the outcome prior to the 285-pound bout.
Host North Carolina, which finished third in the team competition, received a pair of individual titles from seniors Troy Heilmann at 149 and Ethan Ramos at 174. For Ramos it was his second ACC title, having won at 174 as a sophomore in 2016.
Duke senior Jacob Kasper kept his 23-match winning streak alive by winning the 285-pound title for the first time. Kasper, who is ranked third nationally, is now 34-2 on the year.
Championship Most Valuable Wrestler:
Brent Moore, Virginia Tech (141)
ACC Championship Finals Results
125—Sean Fausz (ST) d. Louis Hayes (UVA) 4-0
133—Dennis Gustafson (VT) d. Jack Mueller (UVA), 11-7
141—Brent Moore (VT) d. Kevin Jack (ST), 6-4, SV-1
149—Troy Heilmann (UNC) d. Ryan Blees (VT), 3-1
157—Hayden Hidlay (ST) d. Mitch Finesilver (DU), 3-2
165—David McFadden (VT) major d. Zach Finesilver, 22-9
174—Ethan Ramos (UNC) d. Hunter Bolen (VT), 10-6
184—Pete Renda (ST) d. Zack Zavatsky (VT), 4-0
197—Jared Haught (VT) d. Michael Macchiavello (ST), 6-4, tiebreaker 2
285—Jacob Kasper (DU) d. Cory Daniel (UNC), 8-4
The ACC All-Conference Wrestling team is composed of all wrestlers who reached the Championship finals.
2018 All-ACC Wrestling Team
Louis Hayes, Virginia (125)
Sean Fausz, NC State (125)
Jack Mueller, Virginia (133)
Dennis Gustafson, Virginia Tech (133)
Kevin Jack, NC State (141)
Brent Moore, Virginia Tech (141)
Troy Heilmann, North Carolina (149)
Ryan Blees, Virginia Tech (149)
Hayden Hidlay, NC State (157)
Mitch Finesilver, Duke (157)
David McFadden, Virginia Tech (165)
Zach Finesilver, Duke (165)
Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech (174)
Ethan Ramos, North Carolina (174)
Zack Zavatsky, Virginia Tech (184)
Pete Renda, NC State (184)
Jared Haught, Virginia Tech (197)
Michael Macchiavello, NC State (197)
Jacob Kasper, Duke (285)
Cory Daniel, North Carolina (285)