GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brian Stephens, the ACC champion at 149 pounds who helped Virginia Tech to a share of first place during the regular season, was voted the ACC Freshman of the Year.
Maryland 197-pound senior Hudson Taylor, who finished his collegiate career as the Terrapins’ first ever three-time wrestling All-American, has been voted the 2009-10 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestler of the Year by the league’s head coaches.
The honor is the second for Taylor, who was also voted ACC Wrestler of the Year as a sophomore in 2008.
ACC Coach of the Year honors went to Virginia’s Steve Garland, who guided the Cavaliers to their fourth conference championship and their first since 1977.
Taylor, a four-time ACC Wrestler of the Week during the regular season, was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the ACC Championships on March 6. Taylor then earned All-America honors for the third straight year with a fourth-place finish in last weekend’s NCAA Championships at Omaha, Neb.
Taylor, a native of Pennington, N.J., finished the season 42-4 and leaves Maryland as the school's all-time winningest wrestler with a 165-28 career record.
Virgnia Tech’s plans originally called for Stephens to take a redshirt year, but an injury to returning starter Pete Yates thrust Stephens into a starting role before the Hokies competed in their first ACC match.
Stephens responded by winning 23 total matches, including a streak of 12 in a row late in the season. Stephens posted a 4-0 record in the ACC regular-season competition, then earned an automatic NCAA berth by winning the ACC Championship in his weight class. The Piqua, Ohio, native earned a national ranking from several publications.
Garland, a former Virginia standout who just completed his fourth season as the Cavaliers’ head coach, led his team to a 16-6 dual match record during the regular season. Virginia was consistently ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams.
Virginia then peaked in postseason, winning the ACC Championship in a tough, three-way battle with Maryland and Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers saw a school-record eight wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Led by All-America 174-pounder Chris Henrich, Virginia led all ACC teams with a school-record 34 team points at the NCAAs. The Cavaliers placed 15th in the overall scoring. The showing was the second-best ever for Virginia, topped only by a 10th-place finish in 1957.
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).