March 6, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C. - Steven Bell, Alex Krom and Hudson Taylor won individual titles at the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship but the Terps fell just short of a third-straight team title as Virginia edged out Maryland for its first conference championship since 1977. Taylor was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech combined to win nine of the 10 weight classes and down the stretch it seemed any of the three could emerge with the championship. Maryland's three individual titles were one more than Virginia's two, but the Cavaliers had one more top-four finisher than the Terps. Virginia's 85 points narrowly beat Maryland's 80.5 and Virginia Tech's 78.5.
"Obviously we're disappointed with the result," said head coach Kerry McCoy. "We felt like we had the ability to win and things just didn't go our way today. In every category we improved from last year, except the team title. Our guys fought hard but it just wasn't meant to be today."
Taylor won both of his matches in typical fashion - by pinfall. He pinned John Barone of Duke in 2:49 to reach the finals, where he pinned North Carolina's Dennis Drury at the 4:10 mark. The pins were the 23rd and 24th of the season for Taylor, which leads the nation. It also broke Maryland's single-season pins record of 23, previously held by Jake Stork.
Bell became a three-time ACC Champion, Maryland's first since Brandon York won four straight from 1999-2002. Ranked 11th nationally at 133 pounds, Bell cruised in his first match with Dale Shull of NC State, winning by major decision 17-6. He received a tough test from Virginia's Matt Snyder in the final but emerged on the winning end of a 2-1 decision, capturing the conference's lone automatic NCAA bid in the 133-pound weight class.
The Terps made it two wins in a row as ninth-ranked Alex Krom picked up his second consecutive ACC title. The senior pinned Mike Bell of Duke in the first round in just 1:30 and advanced to the finals with a 10-4 decision over Mike Rappo of North Carolina. Krom won the title by defeating No. 10 Chris Diaz of Virginia Tech, 6-4, in a rematch of last year's 141-pound final.
Kyle John and Josh Asper reached the finals at 157 and 165 pounds, respectively, earning automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. In all, six Terps qualified for the NCAA Championships: Bell, Krom, Taylor, John, Asper and James Knox. Additional at-large qualifiers, which will be selected by an NCAA committee, will be announced on Wednesday, March 11.
The NCAA Championships will be held March 18-20 in Omaha, Neb., where Maryland will look to improve upon last year's 10th-place finish, the second-best in school history.