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Wrestling: ACC Champions!

It's been a long 23-year wait, but the Virginia wrestling team was rewarded with its first ACC Championship since 1977 this past weekend.  The No. 22 Cavaliers upset No. 10 Maryland and No. 14 Virginia Tech to capture the title, in no small part thanks to ACC champions Chris Henrich and Mike Salopek.  This is just their fourth ACC title overall, with the other three coming in 1974, 1975, and 1977.

"It was just about a perfect day," Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. "I'm just trying not to cry right now. It was 1977 the last time we won it and it has been a long time coming. There is so much work that goes into it. To see all of our guys hugging and crying, it means the world to me."

The championship was a total team effort. Virginia, ranked 22nd nationally, came in as underdogs to No. 10 Maryland and No. 14 Virginia Tech, but all 10 Cavalier wrestlers reached the semifinal round and placed among the top four in their respective weight classes. UVa was the only team to place in the top four in all 10 weight classes.

In addition to the team championship, a school-record eight Cavaliers qualified for the 2010 NCAA Championships. That breaks the previous record of seven, set in 1997, 1998 and 2009. Ross Gitomer (125), Derek Valenti (141), Shawn Harris (149), Dan Gonsor (157), Henrich (174), Salopek (184), Brent Jones (197) and Jack Danilkowicz (285) all punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships after earning automatic bids. In all UVa, earned one-third of the ACC's 24 automatic qualifier slots.

Virginia's eight NCAA qualifiers will head to Omaha, Neb., March 18-20 for the NCAA Championships at Quest Center Omaha.

Henrich will be making his third straight NCAA appearance; he won All-America honors last year. Gitomer and Jones each will be wrestling at NCAAs for the second time, while the remaining five will be making their first career appearance at the national championships.

I smell an NCAA Title coming up. Anyone else?