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Wrestling captures unlikely ACC championship

DiCamillo, Sulzer win individual titles, seven Cavaliers qualify for NCAAs

<p>Senior Nick Sulzer claimed his second consecutive ACC title at 165 pounds with a 5-2 victory against North Carolina redshirt freshman Ethan Ramos. </p>

Senior Nick Sulzer claimed his second consecutive ACC title at 165 pounds with a 5-2 victory against North Carolina redshirt freshman Ethan Ramos. 

No. 18 Virginia wrestling went to Pittsburgh as underdogs. They left the Petersen Events Center champions.

The Cavaliers entered the ACC Championship as the fourth overall seed, but a true team effort propelled Virginia to 85.5 points and its fifth ACC title.

“I don't think anyone predicted this was going to happen,” coach Steve Garland said. “It was a heck of an upset win and we are really excited about being a part of something that we think is going to be a good story about Virginia wrestling for years to come.”

All 10 wrestlers placed in the top four of their weight classes—six made the championship round. Of those six, sophomore George DiCamillo and senior Nick Sulzer won their brackets. Due to this, Virginia essentially had the tournament locked up before the championship round.

A 2013 ACC champion, DiCamillo topped Duke freshman Mitch Finesilver 12-6 for his second individual title. The Ohio native missed the 2014 season in its entirety due to a hip injury.

“We wrestle our best when we have a chip on our shoulder and I feel like we did a good job of responding to some controversial seeding and some adversity,” DiCamillo said.

Sulzer dispatched North Carolina redshirt freshman Ethan Ramos 5-2 to claim his second consecutive title at 165 pounds. Ramos upset Sulzer in Chapel Hill earlier in the season.

"I think it's great, but the even better part is the team title," Sulzer said. "We finally got the ACC title that has eluded us the last few years. It puts the cherry on top.”

Redshirt freshman Andrew Atkinson and juniors Nick Herrmann, Blaise Butler and Zach Nye all lost in the championship match. The four qualified for the NCAA Championship in the process.

Senior Joe Spisak was the seventh and final Cavalier to receive an NCAA bid. The Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania native took bronze at 141 pounds. Spisak and Sulzer became the seventh and eighth Virginia wrestlers to reach the NCAA Tournament four times.

The remaining three wrestlers—redshirt freshmen TJ Miller and Tyler Askey and junior Patrick Gillen—placed fourth in their weight classes. None received at-large bids for NCAAs.

Host Pittsburgh placed second with 71 points. Virginia Tech—the regular season champion—was a distant third with 59.5 points.

The NCAA Tournament is March 19-21 in St. Louis, Missouri.

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