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ACC Champs! Virginia wrestling takes home title

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Jim Daves, UVa Media Relations

The Virginia Cavaliers wrestling team won the ACC Championship, romping to the title in Pittsburgh with 85.5 team points. Pittsburgh placed second with 71 points, followed by Virginia Tech with 59.5 points. The title is the program's fifth of all time; Virginia won in 2010, but hadn't won it all before that since 1977.

UVA, who finished the regular season ranked 18th in the nation, had 6 finalists, with George DiCamarillo winning the title at 133 pounds and Nick Sulzer taking home the 165 pound title; both are repeat champs.

The upset win (Pitt and VT were probably the favorites) was made even more shocking by the ease in which UVA dominated the meet. The Hoos were coming off a disappointing 2-3 conference season, losing its final 3 matches against VT, UNC, and NC State (the latter two losses snapping 5 and 7 match winning streaks, respectively).  But at the ACC Championships, UVA had all but locked up the title before the finals were wrestled, as the team posted a commanding 18.5 point lead going into the last round.

Their losing ACC record probably wasn't an adequate representation of the team's strength, as the losses came by a combined 5 points. Credit to coach Steve Garland for scheduling a ridiculously difficult slate (UVA had 9 dual meets against ranked opponents, posting a 4-5 record), and using it to get the team ready for big meets like this one.

It was UVA's depth that carried the day in the ACC Tournament. In the 6-team conference, every UVA wrestler competed in either a 1st place or 3rd place match.  Even after some first-round losses, the team was flawless in the wrestleback rounds and picked up key team points, such that Pitt and VT's strength at the top (3 champions each) wasn't enough to mount a comeback.

Seven of UVA's 10 competing wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships, which take place March 17-19 in St. Louis: Nick Hermann (who placed 2nd at 125), George DiCamillo (1st at 133), Joseph Spisak (3rd at 141), Andrew Atkinson (2nd at 157), Nick Sulzer (1st at 165), Blaise Butler (2nd at 174), and Zach Nye (2nd at 197). For more info, check out the full results here.