The Maryland wrestling team earned its record 24th ACC Championship and fourth in five seasons after defeating Virginia and Virginia Tech on Saturday at Carmichael Arena. The Terrapins dominated the upper weights and crowned four champions: Kyle John (157), Jimmy Sheptock (174), Christian Boley (197), and Spencer Myers (285). We caught up with them this week and this is what they had to say.
Only a few days removed from his dominant championship run in which he avenged two regular season losses, senior Kyle John had trouble concealing his smile. After falling twice in the ACC finals the last two years, John exercised his demons with an inspiring second period pin against North Carolina's Corey Mock.
"That monkey was definitely riding on my back," John said. "Once I got [Mock] on his back I was kind of like I've got to put this to an end right now. He kind of rolled out of it almost, but once I pulled him back I knew it was over."
The team title marks John's fourth ACC Championship as a member of the Terps.
"[I've now got] four rings in the ring box," John said. "It's a great accomplishment and it couldn't have been done without my teammates. There are so many guys that have contributed over the last five years that I've been here."
Sophomore heavyweight Spencer Myers collected two decisions to win his second straight ACC individual title in addition to a pair of team titles. Myers credits his immense success early in his career to the strong support of his workout partners and family.
"I have to give a lot of credit to my team," Myers said. "My workout partners - Ryan Gray and Akil Patterson - they all have a share in the titles, both individual and team. I wouldn't have gotten here without my parents, family and everyone surrounding me."
Myers shocked the NCAA tournament field last season by placing sixth and earning All-American status as a freshman. He took a lot from that experience and now has his sights on a national championship.
"I have to motivate myself to keep pushing and I need to know that anyone can beat anyone on any given day," Myers said. "Last year, I was ranked 25th going into nationals and came out sixth so anyone can make that run."
Sophomore Christian Boley overpowered North Carolina's Zachary Bennett with a 13-3 major decision in the finals to earn his first career ACC title. After a third place conference finish last season, Boley was determined to earn a spot in the national tournament.
"Last year, the big turning point was when I went to nationals and I was just sitting down in the stands watching," Boley said. "There were some kids participating that I had either beaten before or wrestled with in high school, so I was just determined from that point on to not be a spectator anymore."
Jimmy Sheptock outscored his two opponents by a combined score of 18-4 to capture his first career title at 174 pounds. Sheptock felt he was well prepared for the tournament.
"I knew that once I hit the stage that I would be able to hang with the big dogs and I have showed it," Sheptock said.
The sophomore attributes much of his success to the high quality opponents that he faces in the Maryland wrestling room, including 2011 All-Americans Mike Letts and Josh Asper.
"Mike Letts is one of the best wrestlers in [Maryland history] and Asper is going to be one of the best ones," Sheptock said. "I am wrestling a top-five guy every day in the room and I have gotten experience that helped me grow and get better."In addition to the four ACC individual champions, Maryland will send three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis based on automatic qualifier bids: Shane Gentry (125), Geoffrey Alexander (133), and Asper (165).