ACC CHAMPS! Wrestling Wins First Conference Title Since 1973

March 8, 2008

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  • Announcement of the Championship | Coach Santoro Comments
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    COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 22 Maryland wrestling team claimed the 2008 ACC Championship on March 8 at Comcast Center by two points, securing the Terrapins' first ACC title since 1973. The Terps had five individual champions on the day and finished with 86.5 points while Virginia, who placed nine in the top three, had 84.5 points. North Carolina finished third with 77.0 points. Audio above provided by Bruce Posner, host of Terp Talk every week on ESPN 1300 radio.

    It is the first time a team outside the state of North Carolina has won a tournament championship since 1977. Maryland's first title since 1973 now gives it 21 overall which leads the conference.

    Entering the finals, the top three teams were separated by just seven points. Virginia led with 78.5 while North Carolina was right behind with 74.0. Maryland sat in third place with 71.5 points but had the most wrestlers in the finals with six. The Tar Heels had five while Virginia placed four in the finals.

    Ross Gitomer of Virginia started the championship round with an 8-3 decision in the 125 pound title match but then sophomore Steven Bell edged Darrius Little of NC State, 6-5, to win the 133 pound championship.

    Sophomore Jon Kohler, the No. 5 seed for Maryland at 141 pounds, beat a better seed in every match on his way to the conference title. He first beat No. 3 Chris Diaz of Virginia Tech, 6-0, and then beat the second seed Nick Stabile of North Carolina, 5-2. In the final, he topped Virginia's Nick Nelson, the fourth seed, 3-0, in an important win over the Cavaliers.

    The 149 pound championship featured sophomore Eric Medina and NC State's Darrion Caldwell, the two top seeds in the bracket. Caldwell overpowered the freshman, though, and claimed a 12-2 major decision.

    In the 157 pound title match, freshman Brian Letters won the championship with a tight 3-2 decision.

    Virginia Tech's Matt Epperly, voted the tournament's Most Valuable Wrestler, upset the top three seeds en route to his championship at 165 pounds. He defeated No. 2 Mike Chaires of Virginia, No. 3 Addison Nuding of Duke, and took down top-seeded Keegan Mueller of North Carolina for the title.

    Sophomore Mike Letts claimed his second-straight ACC title at 174 pounds, beating Virginia's Chris Henrich in the final, 4-3, in a closely contested bout and Virginia's Rocco Caponi cruised to the 184 pound championship, winning 6-4 in the semifinals and 7-2 against Ryan Goodman of NC State.

    Sophomore Hudson Taylor sealed the win for the Terps with his 10-5 decision at 197 pounds, pushing Maryland past the Cavaliers to win the team championship.

    Justin Dobies of North Carolina finished up the evening with a 4-3 win at heavyweight to win his conference title.

    The 10 individual champions will go on to represent their schools in the NCAA Championship while the four wild cards will be determined on Sunday morning by the coaches.

    Team Standings
    1. Maryland, 86.5
    2. Virginia, 84.5
    3. North Carolina, 77.0
    4. Virginia Tech, 40.0
    5. NC State, 37.5
    6. Duke, 11.5

    2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Finals
    125 - Ross Gitomer (UVA) dec, Drew Forshey (UNC), 8-3
    133 - Steven Bell (MD) dec. Darrius Little (NCST), 6-5
    141 - Jon Kohler (MD) dec. Nick Nelson (UVA), 3-0
    149 - Darrion Caldwell (NCST) major dec. Eric Medina (MD), 12-2
    157 - Brian Letters (MD) dec. Thomas Scotton (UNC), 3-2
    165 - Matt Epperly (VT) dec. Keegan Mueller (UNC), 7-2; SV1
    174 - Mike Letts (MD) dec. Chris Henrich (UVA), 4-3
    184 - Rocco Caponi (UVA) dec. Ryan Goodman (NCST), 7-2
    197 - Hudson Taylor (MD) dec. Dennis Drury (UNC), 10-5
    HWT - Justin Dobies (UNC) dec. David Marone (VT), 4-3

    125 - #2 Brendan Byrne
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Lost 3-2 to #3 Ross Gitomer (UVA)
    Consolation Semifinals - Beat Taylor Cummings (NCST) 5-0
    Third-Place Match - Beat #4 Kellan McKeaon 3-1

    133 - #2 Steven Bell
    First Round - Beat #6 Chris Thumen (Duke) by fall, 3:22
    Semifinals - Beat #3 Jared Jones (VT) 17-6
    Final - Beat #4 Darrius Little (NC State) 6-5

    141 - #5 Jon Kohler
    First Round - Beat #3 Chris Diaz (VT) 6-0
    Semifinals - Beat #2 Nick Stabile (UNC) 5-2
    Final - Beat #4 Nick Nelson (UVA) 3-0

    149 - #2 Eric Medina
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Beat #3 Vincent Ramirez (UNC) 11-6
    Final - Lost to #1 Darrion Caldwell (NCST) 12-2

    157 - #2 Brian Letters
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Beat #3 Voris Tejada (Duke) 3-2 TB2
    Final - Beat #1 Thomas Scotton (UNC) 3-2

    165 - #4 Mike McGill
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Lost to #1 Keegan Mueller (UNC) 12-0
    Consolation Semifinals - Lost to #2 Mike Chaires (UVA) 5-2

    174 - #1 Mike Letts
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Beat #4 Kyle Kiss (UNC) 13-2
    Final - Beat #2 Chris Henrich (UVA) 4-3

    184 - #3 Josh Haines
    First Round - Beat Nick Tenpenny (UNC) 3-0
    Semifinals - Lost to Ryan Goodman (NCST) 6-1
    Consolation Semifinals - Lost to Tommy Spellman, medical forfeit

    197 - #1 Hudson Taylor
    First Round - Beat Danny Tulley (Duke) by technical fall, 18-1/6:25
    Semifinals - Beat D.J. Bruce (VT) by fall, 4:55
    Final - Beat #2 Dennis Drury (UNC) 10-5

    HWT - #4 Patrick Gilmore
    First Round Bye
    Semifinals - Lost to #1 Justin Dobies (UNC) 5-2
    Consolation Semifinals - Beat #5 Mike Tunick (Duke) by fall, 0:58
    Third-Place Match - Lost to Jack Danilkowicz (UVA) 5-3