Chapel Hill, N.C. -
The Virginia wrestling team finished second at the ACC Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C. as three Cavaliers won individual titles. Junior Matt Snyder (Lewistown, Pa.), senior Nick Nelson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sophomore Jon Fausey (Dalmatia, Pa.) all picked up championships in their respective weight classes. It was the most individual titles by UVa at the event since the 2009 season.
Maryland won its second consecutive title and its fourth in the past five seasons with 83 total points. UVa was second with 73.5 points and Virginia Tech was third at 70.5.
A total of five Cavaliers qualified during the meet for the NCAA Championships, set for St. Louis on March 15-17. Snyder, Nick Nelson and Fausey all advanced by making it to the finals of their weight classes. Matt Nelson (133) and Nick Sulzer (165) qualified after winning the consolation finals of their divisions. Several other wrestlers could join that group next week when at-large selections are announced.
Snyder won his first ACC title with a close 3-1 decision in the 125-pound weight class. He used a takedown during the second period to grab the lead and managed to fend off a takedown attempt by Maryland's Shane Gentry in the closing seconds for the win.
Snyder lost in the ACC finals the past two seasons, including a sudden victory decision last year. He is the first Cavalier to win the 125-pound weight class since 2008. Snyder reached the round of 12 at last year's NCAA Championships. His ACC title improves his record to 22-3 this season.
The top-seeded Snyder had a first-round bye and stormed into the finals thanks to a pin at the 2:08 mark against NC State's Coltin Fought. The fall was the 24th of his career, moving him into fifth place on that UVa all-time list.
Nick Nelson picked up UVa's second title in dramatic fashion at 141 pounds. Nelson defeated NC State's Darrius Little 3-2 in a marathon match that took two tiebreakers to decide.
Tied 1-1 after regulation, both wrestlers managed an escape during the first tiebreaker period. Nelson started the second tiebreaker in the down position and broke away from Little late in the 30-second period to take the lead. Little nearly forced a third tiebreaker. From the down position, he managed to make it to his feet and tried to twist out of Nelson's grip on the edge of the mat as time expired.
Nick Nelson was the top seed at 141 pounds and used a 10-4 victory against Tanner Hough of Duke to reach the finals.
Nelson's trip to the NCAAs will be the third in his career. The victory raised his record to 25-2 this year. He is UVa's first ACC champion at 141 pounds since the 2004 season.
Fausey, the top seed at 184 pounds, had no problems handing North Carolina's Thomas Ferguson a 4-1 loss in the finals to improve to 21-3 this year. He scored a technical fall at the 5:37 mark of his first match, downing NC State's Robert O'Neill 18-2 to move into the finals.
Fausey became the fifth Cavalier in the past six seasons to win the 184-pound division. He will be making his second consecutive trip to the NCAAs after finishing third at the ACCs in 2011.
The Cavaliers saw their chances at the team title slip away when seven of 10 wrestlers failed to advance from the semifinals to the championship round.
Three Cavaliers - Gus Sako at 149, Ryan Malo at 197 and Ethan Hayes at 285 - also won consolation finals but do not automatically advance to the NCAAs since their respective weight classes were allocated fewer berths to the national meet.
Matt Nelson's victory in the 133-pound consolation finals improved his record to 17-5 this season. The No. 2 seed in his class, he lost to Maryland's Geoffrey Alexander 5-1 in the semifinals. He downed UNC's Brock Livorio in the consolation semifinals and beat Duke's Brandon Gambucci in the consolation finals.
Nelson will be making his first appearance at the NCAAs. Prior to this season he had not wrestled for four seasons due to concussion symptoms that cut short his senior season of high school wrestling.
Sulzer, a redshirt freshman, will be making his first trip to the NCAAs. The No. 3 seed at 165 pounds, he handed Duke's Ryan Harding a 16-5 major decision loss in the first round before falling to second-seeded Peter Yates of Virginia Tech 8-5 in the semis.
In the consolation bracket, he ousted NC State's Nigel Jones by another major decision, 17-5, and then shut out North Carolina's Kyle Kiss 4-0 in the consolation finals.
ACC Championship Team Results
1. Maryland 83
2. Virginia 73.5
3. Virginia Tech 70.5
4. NC State 47.5
5. North Carolina 38
6. Duke 17.5
Virginia Results by Weight Class
(1) Matt Snyder - bye
Snyder defeats (4) Coltin Fought (NCSU) by pin
Snyder defeats (2) Shane Gentry (MD) 3-1
Snyder advances to NCAA Championships
(2) Matt Nelson - bye
Nelson (3) lost to Geoffrey Alexander (MD) 5-1
Nelson defeats (4) Brock Livorio (UNC) 5-0
M. Nelson defeats (5) Brandon Gambucci (Duke) 10-8
Nelson advances to NCAA Championships
(1) Nick Nelson - bye
Nelson defeats (5) Tanner Hough (Duke) 10-4
N. Nelson defeats (2) Darrius Little (NCSU) 3-2 (TB2)
Nelson advances to NCAA Championships
(1) Gus Sako - bye
Gus Sako loses vs. (4) Matt Nereim (NCSU) by pin
Sako defeats (6) Nick Heilmann (UNC) 10-5
Sako defeats (2) Ben Dorsay (MD) MD 10-1
(2) Jedd Moore - bye
Jedd Moore loses vs. (3) Kyle John (MD) 9-2
Moore loses vs. (5) Colton Palmer (NCSU) by pin
(3) Nic Sulzer defeats (6) Ryan Harding (Duke) MD 16-5
Sulzer loses vs. (2) Peter Yates (VT) 8-5
Sulzer defeats (5) Nigel Jones (NCSU) MD 16-5
Sulzer defeats (4) Kyle Kiss (UNC) 4-0
Sulzer advances to NCAA Championships
(4) Vinny Waldhauser defeats (5) Alex Utley (UNC) 7-1
Waldhauser loses vs. (4) Jimmy Sheptock (MD) 8-2
Waldhauser defeats (6) Randy Rohen (Duke) 9-1
Waldhauser loses vs. (2) Quinton Godley (NCSU) 9-3
(1) Jon Fausey - bye
Fausey defeats (5) Robert O'Neill (NSCU) TF 18-2
Fausey defeats (2) Thomas Ferguson (UNC) 4-1
Fausey advances to NCAA Championships
(4) Ryan Malo defeats (5) KaRonne Jones (NC State) 8-3
Malo loses vs. (1) Christian Boley (MD) 5-3
Malo defeats (6) Brian Self (Duke) 5-1
Malo defeats (5) KaRonne Jones (NCSU) 9-3
(3) Ethan Hayes defeats (6) Josh Davis (NC State) MD 9-0
Hayes loses vs. (2) Chris Penny (VT) 3-1
Hayes defeats (4) Robbie Mello (Duke) 5-3
Hayes defeats (5) Nick Tenpenny (UNC) 6-3