UVA’s Hamilton named Most Outstanding Wrestler at ACC Championships

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

Nick Hamilton claimed the ACC Championship at 165 pounds and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler to lead Virginia at the ACC Wrestling Championships in Carmichael Arena on Sunday in Chapel Hill.

Hamilton led a trio of placewinners for the Cavaliers as Justin McCoy took a runner-up finish at 174 pounds and Marlon Yarbrough finished third at 133 pounds.


Hamilton stormed through his opening-round match, taking a 14-2 major decision over North Carolina’s Isaias Estrada right out of the gates. He followed it up with a gritty performance in the semifinals, taking down top-seeded Derek Fields of NC State with a 2-1 decision in the tiebreak period of overtime. Hamilton closed out his night with a 7-3 decision over third-seeded Connor Brady of Virginia Tech.

In his runner-up finish, McCoy started the day with a bye before facing off against No. 3 seed Tyler Eischens of North Carolina. McCoy fell behind and battled back to tie the match at six at the end of regulation and send the contest into overtime. He got the takedown in sudden victory for the 9-6 decision. McCoy battled in the finals before a takedown with eight seconds left in the third period gave top-seeded Mekhi Lewis the 4-1 decision.

Yarbrough’s third-place finish came through a rigorous day of competition that saw it open with a loss by decision to third-seeded Sam Latona of Virginia Tech based on riding time in the tiebreak period of overtime. He then came back through the wrestlebacks to take an 11-2 decision over fifth-seeded Jace Palmer of North Carolina. He locked up his spot on the podium with a 5-2 decision over No. 4 seed Vincent Santaniello of Pitt.


  • Nick Hamilton claimed the 94th individual ACC Championship in Virginia program history on Sunday night.
  • He is the first Most Outstanding Wrestler selection for Virginia since Brent Jones in 2009 and it is the 10th time in program history a Cavalier has been selected for the honor.
  • Virginia locked up four automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championships with Hamilton, Krystian Kinsey, McCoy and Yarbrough all receiving automatic bids.
  • It marks back-to-back ACC Champions at 165 pounds for the Hoos as Justin McCoy won the title at 165 pounds a year ago – also over Virginia Tech’s Connor Brady.


“We got two guys back-to-back in the finals in Nick Hamilton and Justin McCoy. Nick Hamilton stuck to the game plan and set an example for what it means to be gritty and win close. Justin McCoy was the same way all day and we’re really proud of him.

“The tournament had a crazy start and I think the message echoed all year that we had a lot of young guys who didn’t quite get over the hump – and that happens with young guys.

“Learning how to win is a skill you have to learn. Marlon Yarbrough is an example of that because he was able to lock up his bid to the NCAA Championships because he was in the fire last year and grew from that.

“The effort and fight was there today, that’s the good news. Now it’s how do we get them over that hump? We’re so close and we now have to lock in and each individual lock in on that, but experience is a big part of that.”

No. 4 seed Kyle Montaperto
QF: No. 5 seed Logan Agin (Duke) dec. Montaperto, 9-6 (sv-1)
Conso. SF: No. 6 seed Colton Camacho (Pitt) dec. Montaperto, 5-1

No. 2 seed Marlon Yarbrough – Third Place
SF: No. 3 seed Sam Latona (VT) dec. Yarbrough, 2-2 (RT) (TB-2)
Conso. SF: Yarbrough major dec. No. 5 Jace Palmer (UNC), 11-3
Third-Place Match: Yarbrough dec. No. 4 seed Vincent Santaniello (Pitt), 5-2
*Yarbrough locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

No. 5 seed Jack Gioffre
No. 4 seed Lachlan McNeil (UNC) major dec. Gioffre, 12-3
Conso. SF: No. 3 seed Tom Crook (VT) dec. Gioffre, 12-11

No. 5 seed Michael Gioffre

QF: No. 4 seed Finn Solomon (Pitt) dec. Gioffre, 15-11
Conso. SF: No. 3 seed Jayden Scott (UNC) dec. Gioffre, 5-2 (sv-2)

No. 5 seed Nick Sanko
No. 4 seed Jared Keslar (Pitt) pinned Sanko, 4:02
Conso. SF: No. 3 seed Bryce Andonian (VT) dec. Sanko, 8-3

No. 4 seed Nick Hamilton – ACC CHAMPION
Hamilton major dec. No. 5 seed Isaias Estrada (UNC), 14-2
SF: Hamilton dec. No. 1 seed Derek Fields (NCSU), 2-1 (TB-1)
FINAL: Hamilton dec. No. 3 seed Connor Brady (VT), 7-3
*Hamilton locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

No. 2 seed Justin McCoy – Runner Up
SF: McCoy dec. No. 3 seed Tyler Eischens (UNC), 9-6 (sv-1)
FINAL: No. 1 seed Mekhi Lewis (VT) dec. McCoy, 4-1
*McCoy locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

No. 5 seed Ethan Weatherspoon
No. 4 seed Gavin Kane dec. Weatherspoon, 8-5
Conso. SF: No. 2 seed Reece Heller (Pitt) dec. Weatherspoon, 8-4
Fifth-Place Match: Weatherspoon dec. No. 6 seed Conor Becker (Duke), 10-3
*Fifth-place match does not count in team standings

No. 5 seed Krystian Kinsey
No. 4 seed Mac Stout (Pitt) dec. Kinsey, 5-4
Conso. SF: Kinsey dec. No. 2 seed Andy Smith (VT), 9-4
Third-Place Match: No. 4 seed Mac Stout over Kinsey by medical forfeit
*Kinsey locks up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships

No. 3 seed Ryan Catka

QF: Catka major dec. No. 6 seed Cade Lautt (UNC) 14-3
SF: No. 2 seed Hunter Catka (VT) dec. Catka, 7-3
Conso. SF: Catka dec. No. 5 seed Connor Barket (Duke), 11-4
Third-Place Match: No. 4 seed Dayton Pitzer (Pitt) dec. Catka, 7-0