March 9, 2013
Virginia Tech claims first ACC Wrestling Championship
Marone's win in final bout seals team title

COLLEGE PARK, Md. ( - It all came down to one match for sixth-year senior David Marone. The heavyweight needed a win not only to clinch his first ACC title and a trip to the NCAA Championships but a win to lock up the team title for the Hokies. The Colorado native didn’t disappoint, rolling to an eight-point win to lift Virginia Tech to its first ACC Championship in wrestling Saturday at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland.

Tech trailed Virginia by 10 points heading to the finals and had six wrestlers in the finals to Virginia’s eight finalists, but Jarrod Garnett cut that lead in half quickly with a pin over UNC’s top-seeded Nathan Kraisser at 125 pounds. His pin set the tone as Tech finished with five titles and Garnett was rewarded with the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Trailing by five, UVa got its first title at 133 pounds to stretch the lead back to eight points. After Tech’s Zach Neibert lost in the finals, it set up three straight Tech-UVa matches in the finals. First, Nick Brascetta took care of Derek Valenti at 149 pounds and then Jesse Dong won his third ACC title with a win over Jedd Moore at 157 pounds to cut the lead to one. Pete Yates then won his second ACC title with a win over Nick Sulzer at 165 pounds to give the Hokies a one point win.

Virginia still had four finalists left, but the first three each lost to a Maryland competitor to keep Tech’s lead at one point with one match left. Marone needed a win to grab the lone NCAA bid and seal the title, but he took all of the drama out of it early, taking down UVa’s Derek Papagianopoulos in the first period and then two more times to roll to the 8-0 major decision and send the Tech bench streming onto the mat in celebration.

“Toughness prevailed tonight,” Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser said. “Coming back when you have ZERO room for error is a credit to these 10 guys and my assistants. Great staff. Great team. ACC Champions!”

The Hokies placed five wrestlers at the top of the podium as Garnett (125), Brascetta (149), Dong (157), Yates (165) and Marone (285) won titles. For Garnett and Dong, it was their third ACC titles while it was the second title for Brascetta and Yates. It was the first title for Marone, the sixth-year senior, but it couldn’t have come at a bigger moment.

All 10 wrestlers placed for Tech, including eight in the top three. Additionally, nine wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Derrick Borlie, who earned a spot for the league, didn’t finish in the top two so he must now wait to see if he gets one of the four wildcard spots at 197 pounds when they are announced on March 13.

Before Saturday, Tech had never won the ACC title, finishing second twice (2006 and 2011). In the progran’s history, 13 different Hokie wrestlers have now won an ACC crown. Garnett becomes the fourth Tech wrestler to win M.O.W. honors, joining Jon Bonilla-Bowman (2007; co), Matt Epperly (2008) and Yates (2012) are the only Hokies to take home tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler honors.

Virginia Tech’s previous conference tournament title came in 1998 when it won the Colonial Athletic Association crown. The team also won the title in 1993 and won seven Southern Conference titles (1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963). The most NCAA qualifiers Tech has had in one trip to the Championships was eight back in 2009, but Tech will surpass that effort with at least nine this year, maybe 10.

The NCAA Championships will take place March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Wells Fargo Arena.

59th Annual ACC Wrestling Championships
College Park, MD

1. Virginia Tech 95.5
2. Virginia 90.5
3. Maryland 48.5
4. North Carolina 45.0
5. NC State 30.0
6. Duke 26.0

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Jarrod Garnett (125 pounds), Virginia Tech

Results from all 10 Virginia Tech wrestlers:

125: #2 seed Jarrod Garnett (2-0; CHAMPION; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: def. #3 Shane Gentry (MD), 10-2 MD
Finals: def.. #1 seed Nathan Kraisser (NC), Fall 5:58

133: #3 seed Erik Spjut (3-1; THIRD PLACE; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: def. #6 seed Sam Speno (NCSU), 8-5
Semifinals: lost to #2 seed George DiCamillo (VA), 6-2
Consolations: def. Joey Ward (NC), 4-3 TB-1
Third-Place Match: def. #6 seed Sam Speno (NCSU), 4-0

141: #2 seed Zach Neibert (1-1; SECOND PLACE; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: def. #6 Tanner Hough (Duke), 10-2 MD
Finals: lost to #1 seed Evan Henderson (NC), 5-3

149: #1 seed Nick Brascetta (2-0; CHAMPION; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: def. #5 Tommy Gantt (NCSU), 9-3
Finals: def. #2 seed Derek Valenti (VA), 4-1

157: #1 seed Jesse Dong (1-0; CHAMPION; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals def. #4 Matt Nereim (NCSU), 8-3
Finals: def. #2 seed Jedd Moore (VA), 2-1

165: #1 seed Pete Yates (2-0; CHAMPION; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: def. #4 Nigel Jones (NCSU), Fall 1:48
Finals: def. #2 seed Nick Sulzer (VA), 4-2

174: #3 seed Austin Gabel (3-1; THIRD PLACE; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: def. #6 seed Patrick Davis (NCSU), 12-4 MD
Semifinals: lost to #2 seed Jon Fausey (VA), 2-1 TB-1
Consolations: def. #4 Tanner Eitel (NC), 3-2
Third-Place Match: def. #5 Trey Adamson (DU), 4-2 SV-2

184: #2 seed Nick Vetterlein (1-2; FOURTH PLACE: QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: lost to #3 Stephen Doty (VA), 8-2
Consolations: def. #5 seed Dylan Ryan (DU), 13-5 MD
Third-Place Match: lost to #4 seed Alex Utley (NC), 11-0 MD

197: #2 seed Derrick Borlie (1-2; FOURTH PLACE)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: lost to #3 Mike Salopek (VA), 3-1
Consolations: def. #5 seed Bill Cook (NCSU), 20-5 TF
Third-Place Match: lost to #4 seed Conner Hartmann (DU), 3-1

285: #1 seed David Marone (2-0; CHAMPION; QUALIFIED FOR NCAAs)
First Round: BYE
Semifinals: def. #4 Mike Kosoy (NCSU), 10-3
Finals: def. #2 seed Derek Papagianopoulos (VA), 8-0 MD

For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).

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