March 8, 2014
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Blacksburg, Va. -
The Virginia wrestling team placed third at the ACC Championships behind the individual titles of sophomore Blaise Butler (Belvidere, Ill.) and junior Nick Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio). Butler won his first ACC title at 157 pounds while Sulzer claimed his at 165 pounds. Sulzer was the runner-up in that same weight class last year. Both wrestlers were the top seeds in their respective divisions.
Butler and Sulzer were two of four Cavaliers to advance to the ACC finals. Senior Stephen Doty (St. Louis, Mo.), the No. 2 seed at 174 pounds, and sophomore Zach Nye, the No. 4 seed at 197 pounds, also competed in the championship matches.
A total of seven Cavaliers qualified for the NCAA Championships as a result of their finishes at the tournament. That group includes junior Joe Spisak at 141, junior Gus Sako at 149, Butler at 157, Sulzer at 165, Doty at 174, senior Jon Fausey at 184 and Nye at 197.
"It wasn't great," said Virginia coach Steve Garland on his team's performance. "To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. We have pretty high standards. We want to get all 10 through to nationals. We got nine through last year. We had a great regular season. What happened today doesn't take away from how awesome of a season we had. However, it still hurts.
"We definitely didn't wrestle the way we should have, but it doesn't take away from Blaise Butler and Nick Sulzer, and Zach Nye beating [top-seeded] Christian Boley in the first round match, and what Doty's been able to do. We're celebrating those guys, but we're also understanding that we have work to do, and today wasn't good enough."
Fausey becomes the sixth wrestler in UVa history to be a four-time NCAA qualifier. Spisak and Sulzer will be making their third appearance at the NCAAs while Sako and Doty qualified for the second time in their careers.
The NCAA Championships will take place March 20-22 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Other top finishes for UVa including a third-place performance by Sako and fourth-place efforts by Fausey and sophomore Nick Hermann.
Virginia Tech won its second consecutive team title, totaling 87 points, while Pittsburgh was second at 67 points and Virginia was third with 61.5 points. North Carolina was fourth with 38 points while Maryland finished fifth with 37.5 points. NC State was sixth at 33.5 points and Duke was seventh with 18 points.