March 6, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The 12th-ranked Virginia wrestling team shifts into postseason mode on Saturday when it competes in the 2014 ACC Wrestling Championships at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. After back-to-back runner-up finishes at the championship, Virginia is looking for its first ACC crown since 2010.
ESPN3 will broadcast each round of the tournament online, with dual-mat coverage beginning at 10 a.m. The live broadcast also can be accessed through the WatchESPN app. A link to live brackets also will be available at VirginiaSports.com, while live updates will be provided on the Virginia Wrestling Twitter account, @UVaWrestling.
Advanced tickets are available for $5 each through Friday at this link: http://theacc.co/WRES14tix. All tickets at the championship and online Saturday are $10 each. ACC students with a valid student ID will be admitted free of charge.
ACC Championships Schedule
10 a.m. - First Round
1:30 p.m. - Semifinals
3:45 p.m. - Consolation Semifinals
5:30 p.m. - Consolation Finals
7:30 p.m. - Championship Matches
Probable Virginia Lineup
Weight: Name - Seed (Overall/ACC Dual Record)
125: Nick Herrmann - 4 (15-8/3-3)
133: Joseph Martinez - 2 (14-12/5-1)
141: No. 15/16 Joe Spisak - 4 (18-10/3-3)
149: No. 12/11 Gus Sako - 1 (16-2/2-0)
157: No. 14/14 Blaise Butler - 1 (18-6/5-1)
165: No. 2/2 Nick Sulzer - 1 (30-1/6-0)
174: No. 15/19 Stephen Doty - 2 (25-7/5-1)
184: No. -/19 Jon Fausey - 5 (13-7/1-3)
197: Zach Nye - 4 (18-8/3-3)
285: Ethan Hayes - 5 (15-14/2-4)
** rankings - TheOpenMat.com/InterMat
NCAA Bids on the Line
The ACC will have 34 automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. The breakdown of the ACC's automatic NCAA qualifiers by weight class:
125 - 3
133 - 2
141 - 5
149 - 4
157 - 2
165 - 2
174 - 3
184 - 4
197 - 5
285 - 4
The NCAA Championships will be held March 20-22 in Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Three Cavaliers Earn Top Seeds
With the addition of Pittsburgh this year, the ACC brackets feature just one bye per weight class. Three Cavaliers earned byes into the semifinals by virtue of their No. 1 seeds - Gus Sako (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) at 149 pounds, Blaise Butler (R-So., Belvidere, Ill.) at 157 and Nick Sulzer (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) at 165. Virginia and Pitt each boast three top seeds in the field.
Searching for First Individual Titles
Of the 10 Cavaliers competing this weekend, only one has previously stood atop the podium. Jon Fausey (R-Sr., Dalmatia, Pa.) won the 184-pound title in 2012; the No. 5 seed this year, Fausey faces a loaded class in his challenge for a second crown.
Cavaliers at the ACC Championships
Virginia has won four ACC Championships - 1974, 1975, 1977 and 2010. UVa has finished second at the last two ACC Championships. The Cavaliers have won the championship or finished within 10 points of the champion in five of the last six years.
Eight Cavaliers advanced to the finals last year, with George DiCamillo winning the 133-pound championship.
Expect a Battle to the End
Five of the last six ACC Championships have gone down to the wire, with fewer than 10 points deciding the champion in those instances. Last year Virginia Tech rallied to defeat UVa by five points (95.5-90.5). Maryland won the 2011 title by 12 points over Virginia Tech (94.5-82.5) and defended its title in 2012 by 9.5 points over UVa (83-73.5).
In 2010 Virginia took home the team title by 4.5 points over the Terrapins (85-80.5) and by 6.5 points over Virginia Tech. Maryland won the 2008 and 2009 championships by two points each over Virginia.
Noting the Dual Season
Virginia finished with a No. 12 national ranking, its highest year-end ranking in program history. With an 18-3 dual record the Cavaliers piled up the second-most dual wins in a season in program history, matching the 2007-08 squad. The program record is 19, set in 2010-11. UVa completed its ACC dual schedule with a 5-1 record.
Cavaliers in the Rankings
Six Cavaliers are ranked this week, with each of UVa's wrestlers from 141 through 184 pounds claiming a ranking from at least one of the national publications. Since suffering his lone loss of the season, 2-1 to Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State, Sulzer has won 13 straight bouts and is ranked No. 2 at 165 pounds.
Sako is No. 13 at 149 in TheOpenMat.com rankings, while Butler is ranked No. 14 at 157. Joe Spisak (R-Jr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) is No. 15 at 141, while Stephen Doty (R-Sr., St. Louis, Mo.) is No. 15 at 174. Fausey earned a No. 19 ranking at 184 from InterMat.