Six Cavaliers place at ACC Championships Sunday, eight earn automatic NCAA bids

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

wrestling

(© Michael Chamberlin – stock.adobe.com)

Six Virginia wrestlers placed at the ACC Championships on Sunday to lead the Hoos in the competition at John Paul Jones Arena. Eight Cavaliers locked up automatic bids to the NCAA Championships by virtue of their finishes.

The eight NCAA qualifiers is tied for second most in program history and matches last year’s total number of qualifiers. At-large selections for the NCAA Championships will be announced on Wednesday, March 9.

Justin McCoy led the way for the Hoos, picking up a pair of wins to advance to the finals at 165 pounds and claim a runner-up finish. He knocked off second-seeded and 20th-ranked Thomas Bullard in the semifinals to earn the finals appearance. It avenged the only loss of the regular season for McCoy who was 14-1 entering the day.

Five Cavaliers took third-place finishes with Patrick McCormick and Quinn Miller both repeating as third-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Miller won three of his four matches with the only loss coming to top-seeded and 14th-ranked Nathan Traxler – a rematch of the regular-season finale that was claimed by Miller.

Jake Keating, who dropped down to 157 pounds this year, took third and placed for the second straight season after finishing as runner-up at 165 pounds a year ago.

Jay Aiello finished third at 197 pounds, facing nationally-ranked opponents in three of his four matches. His lone loss on the day came to ninth-ranked and top-seeded Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt in the semifinals.

Dylan Cedeno rounded out the place winners for the Hoos with his third-place finish at 141 pounds. After dropping his opening match, Cedeno rallied to knock off sixth-ranked and second-seeded Kizhan Clarke of North Carolina and avenged his opening-round loss with a win over fourth-seeded and 23rd-ranked Collin Gerardi of Virginia Tech.

Michael Battista and Brian Courtney did not place, but locked up automatic bids to the NCAA Championship based on their finish and the NCAA’s allocation system.

NOTES ON THE DAY

  • Virginia’s eight NCAA qualifiers ties for second most by UVA in a season with the 2021, 2014 and 2010 teams.
  • Jay Aiello became the program’s 13th four-time NCAA qualifier and first since Jack Mueller did it in 2020.
  • Aiello placed for the fourth consecutive season with his third-place finish on Sunday.
  • Justin McCoy and Quinn Miller both earned their third consecutive NCAA Championship bids.
  • McCoy has finished as runner-up at his weight class in back-to-back seasons – 157 in 2021 and 165 in 2022.
  • Brian Courtney, Jake Keating and Patrick McCormick earned a second-straight bid to the NCAA Championships.
  • Michael Battista and Dylan Cedeno both locked up their first NCAA Championship berths.

FROM HEAD COACH STEVE GARLAND

“I am really happy with the way we finished up the tournament. Those last two rounds were impressive. We did not have a great start to the day and we had to have a heart-to-heart as a team to decide how we would finish. Our guys stepped up and got some big individual wins, rallied as a team and went on a nice run on the back side. Because of their efforts we now have eight guys guaranteed to go to the NCAA Championships.”

TEAM STANDINGS

  1. NC State, 98.5 pts
  2. Virginia Tech, 76.0 pts
  3. Pittsburgh, 51.0 pts
  4. North Carolina, 48 pts
  5. Virginia, 39.5 pts
  6. Duke, 11.0 pts

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

125: No. 4 seed Patrick McCormick – Third Place Finish

R1: McCormick dec. No. 5 seed Spencer Moore (UNC), 4-3

SF: No. 1 seed Sam Latona (VT) major dec. McCormick, 16-5

Conso. SF: McCormick dec. No. 6 seed Logan Agin (Duke), 7-4

Third-Place Match: McCormick dec. No. 5 seed Spencer Moore (UNC), 2-1

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

133: No. 5 seed Brian Courtney

R1:No. 4 seed Kai Orine dec. Courtney, 5-2

Conso. SF:No. 2 seed Joe Heilmann (UNC) dec. Courtney, 5-4

Fifth-Place Match: Courtney tech fall Drake Doolittle (Duke), 15-0 (5:53)

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

141: No. 5 seed Dylan Cedeno – Third-Place Finish

R1: No. 4 seed Collin Gerardi (VT) dec. Cedeno, 1-0

Conso. SF: Cedeno dec. No. 2 seed Kizhan Clarke (UNC), 5-0

Third-Place Match: Cedeno dec. No. 4 seed Collin Gerardi (VT), 7-5

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

149: No. 5 seed Jarod Verkleeren

R1: No. 4 seed Zach Sherman (UNC) dec. Verkleeren, 3-1

Conso-R1: No. 3 seed Josh Finesilver dec. Verkleeren, 5-3 (sv-1)

157: No. 2 seed Jake Keating – Third-Place Finish

R1: Bye

SF: No. 3 seed Ed Scott (NCSU) pinned Keating, 2:03

Conso-SF: Keating dec. Elijah Cleary (Pitt), 6-0

Third-Place Match: Keating dec. No. 6 seed Connor Brady (VT), 6-1

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

165: No. 3 seed Justin McCoy – Second-Place Finish

R1: McCoy major dec. No. 6 seed Gabe Dinette (Duke), 10-2

SF: McCoy dec. No. 2 seed Thomas Bullard (NCSU), 1-0

FINAL: No. 1 seed Jake Wentzel (Pitt) dec. McCoy, 7-0

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

174: No. 5 seed Justin Phillips

R1: No. 4 seed Matt Finesilver (Duke) major dec. Phillips, 12-0

Conso-R1: No. 2 seed Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) pinned Phillips, 4:30

184: No. 4 seed Michael Battista

R1: No. 5 seed Gregg Harvey (Pitt) dec. Battista, 7-2

Conso-R1: No. 3 seed Hunter Bolen dec. Battista, 4-2

Fifth-Place Match: Battista dec. Vincent Baker (Duke), 11-6

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

197: No. 3 seed Jay Aiello – Third-Place Finish

R1: Aiello tech fall No. 6 seed Kaden Russell (Duke), 16-0 (6:51)

SF: No. 2 seed Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. Aiello, 5-2

Conso-SF: Aiello dec. No. 5 seed Dakota Howard, 8-2

Third-Place Match: Aiello major dec. No. 4 seed Max Shaw (UNC), 8-0

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

285: No. 4 seed Quinn Miller – Third-Place Finish

R1: Miller vs. No. 5 seed Jonah Niesenbaum (Duke)

SF: No. 1 seed Nathan Traxler dec. Miller, 4-3

Conso-SF: Miller major dec. No. 3 seed Jake Slinger (Pitt), 12-4

Third-Place Match: Miller dec. No. 6 seed Brandon Whitman (UNC), 4-1

Locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

 

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