CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Three Virginia wrestlers earned No. 1 seeds for the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship, which will be held Saturday at Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena. The brackets for the 57th annual event were released Friday night following a seeding meeting and draw by the coaches.
Virginia Tech earned a league-high four top seeds. Hokies earning No. 1 seeds were Jarrod Garnett at 125 pounds, Devin Carter at 133, Jesse Dong at 157 and David Marone at heavyweight.
Garnett and Dong are among six defending champions in this year's field, four of which earned No. 1 seeds for this year's event. Two-time defending champion Chris Henrich of Virginia tops the chart at 174, and the Cavaliers' Mike Salopek - who won a gold medal last year at 184 pounds - is top-seeded this year at 197. Virginia's Jon Fausey is the top seed at 184 pounds.
In addition, NC State All-American Darrion Caldwell, who took a medical redshirt year in 2010 after winning gold medals in each of the previous three years, returns as the top seed at 149 pounds this year. Caldwell, a 2009 NCAA champion, is ranked No. 1 in his weight class and is one of 14 nationally-ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete in the 2011 ACC Championship field.
Defending champion and host school Virginia follows the Hokies with three No. 1 seeds this year, followed by Maryland with two and NC State with one.
The doors to John Paul Jones Arena will open at 10 a.m., with first- round action set to begin at 11 a.m. The semifinals are set for 1 p.m., followed by the semifinal consolation matches at 3:30. The consolation finals are set for 5 p.m., followed by the championship matches at 7 p.m. All seating for the ACC Championship is general admission. Adult tickets are $10, while tickets for youth, senior citizens and students of the participating schools (with valid ID) are $5. Tickets will be good for the entire day of competition. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall, by calling the Ticket Office at (800) 542-8821 or logging on to VirginiaSports.com. The Virginia Athletics Ticket Office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Virginia Tech (20-4 overall) posted a 5-0 ACC record during the regular season to finish atop the ACC standings and tied the school record for dual wins in a season. Maryland (16-4) placed second in the ACC at 4-1 and won 11 of its final 12 dual matches.
Virginia (19-7, 3-2) set a school record for dual match wins. North Carolina (9-9-1, 2-3), NC State (9-10, 1-4) and Duke (2-6-1, 0-5) round out the tournament field. Virginia Tech enters the tournament ranked sixth nationally in the latest NWCA. InterMat, which ranks teams according to postseason tournament projections, ranks the Hokies, Maryland and NC State in a three-way tie for 22nd.
In addition to a team championship, ACC wrestlers will be competing to fill the conference's 20 automatic individual weight-class spots in the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 17-19 at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Arena. The ACC is also hopeful of earning several spots among the 48 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 9
Maryland leads all schools with 22 ACC Championships. North Carolina owns 17 ACC wrestling titles, followed by NC State with 14 and Virginia with four.
The 2011 ACC Wrestling Championship will be the first at John Paul Jones Arena, but Virginia has hosted the event on 11 previous occasions, most recently in 2004.
Complete 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship seedings for each weight class are listed below (with number of automatic NCAA qualifiers allotted to each weight class from the ACC in parentheses).
125 pounds (2)
1. Jarrod Garnett, Virginia Tech
2. Matt Snyder, Virginia
3. Shane Gentry, Maryland
4. Jacob Corrill, North Carolina
5. Mike Moreno, NC State
133 pounds (1)
1. Devin Carter, Virginia Tech
2. Lou Ruland, Maryland
3. Joe Spisak, Virginia
4. Pat Owens, North Carolina
5. Conor Hovis, NC State
141 pounds (3)
1. Jon Kohler, Maryland
2. Chris Diaz, Virginia Tech
3. Darrius Little, NC State
4. Mike Rappo, North Carolina
5. Nick Nelson, Virginia
6. Mike Bell, Duke
149 pounds (2)
1. Darrion Caldwell, NC State
2. Derek Valenti, Virginia
3. Brian Stephens, Virginia Tech
4. Nick Stabile, North Carolina
5. A.J. Guardado, Duke
6. Justin Cash, Maryland
157 pounds (3)
1. Jesse Dong, Virginia Tech
2. Kyle John, Maryland
3. Corey Mock, North Carolina
4. Colton Palmer, NC State
5. Shawn Harris, Virginia
6. Ryan Harding, Duke
165 pounds (2)
1. Josh Asper, Maryland
2. Pete Yates, Virginia Tech
3. Thomas Scotten, North Carolina
4. Jedd Moore, Virginia
5. Willy Melo, Duke
6. Nigel Jones, NC State
174 pounds (2)
1. Chris Henrich, Virginia
2. Mike Letts, Maryland
3. Thomas Ferguson, North Carolina
4. Matt Epperly, Virginia Tech
5. Bret Klopp, Duke
6. Colin Genthert, NC State
184 pounds (3)
1. Jon Fausey, Virginia
2. Antonio Georgio, North Carolina
3. Corey Peltier, Maryland
4. Diego Bencomo, Duke
5. John Dickson, Virginia Tech
6. Quinton Godley, NC State
197 pounds (1)
1. Mike Salopek, Virginia
2. Zac Bennett, North Carolina
3. Christian Boley, Maryland
4. Chris Penny, Virginia Tech
5. Brian Self, Duke
6. KaRonne Jones, NC State
1. David Marone, Virginia Tech
2. Spencer Myers, Maryland
3. Jack Danilkowicz, Virginia
4. Eloheim Palmer, NC State
5. Andre Fulk, Duke
6. Ben Brooks, North Carolina
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