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Wrestling finishes fourth at ACC Championship

The Cavaliers had six wrestlers earn bids to the NCAA Championship

<p>Of the six Cavaliers headed to the NCAA Championship, two have never been, two have been twice and two have been three times.</p>

Of the six Cavaliers headed to the NCAA Championship, two have never been, two have been twice and two have been three times.

The Virginia wrestling team finished in fourth place at the ACC Championship in Raleigh, N.C. Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers had 10 wrestlers compete, and six of them earned bids to the NCAA Championship.

Sophomore Patrick McCormick and No. 13 senior Louie Hayes each entered the day as the No. 4 seed in the 125 and 133-pound divisions, respectively. Both wrestlers fell in the semifinals of their brackets, but rebounded to win their third-place matches and secure a podium finish.

No. 16 sophomore Justin McCoy also clinched an NCAA Tournament berth by finishing runner-up in the 157-pound division. McCoy won a tight semifinal match before falling to NC State’s No. 2 senior Hayden Hidlay in the final.

In the 165-pound division, No. 11 senior Jake Keating recorded a dominant victory in the opening round and advanced to the final after Virginia Tech’s No. 4 sophomore Mekhi Lewis medically forfeited. However, Keating fell to Pittsburgh’s No. 6 sophomore Jake Wentzel 4-0.

No. 9 senior Jay Aiello won his semifinal matchup, but fell to Pittsburgh’s No. 8 junior Nino Bonaccorsi in the final to finish as the runner-up in the 197-pound division. No. 14 junior Quinn Miller closed out the meet with a third-place finish in the heavyweight division to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

Virginia finished fourth in the meet with 55 points. NC State came in first place with 89.5 points, followed by Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

“We had a lot of good things happen today,” Coach Steve Garland said. “We are excited for the six guys who punched through to the NCAA Championships and we are hopeful we can get more through the at-large bid process. But, overall we had way more positive things happen today than negative.”

Aiello and Hayes will be making their third appearance in the NCAA Championship. McCoy and Miller will be making their second appearance, and Keating and McCormick will be competing for the first time.

The NCAA Championship will take place during the weekend of March 18-20. The event will be held at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo.


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