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March 10, 2011

THREE TAKE ACC WRESTLINGS TITLES - Jarrod Garnett, Jesse Dong and Devin Carter lead Tech to a second-place finish at the ACC Championships

By: Jimmy Robertson

Jarrod Garnett Devin Carter Jesse Dong

The Virginia Tech wrestling team saw a bid for its first conference championship come up short, as the Hokies finished behind Maryland and in second place at the ACC Championships held March 5 in Charlottesville, Va.

Disappointed in the outcome, Tech still managed to tie for its best showing at the league’s meet. The Hokies finished second in 2005 and third in both 2009 and 2010.

Three Hokies managed to take individual crowns in their respective weight classes.

Jarrod Garnett, who received a bye in the quarterfinal round, claimed the title at 125 pounds after beating fifth seed Mike Moreno of N.C. State 5-0 in the semifinals and then taking second seed Matt Snyder of UVa 6-4 in the championship bout. The title marked Garnett’s second ACC crown.

Jesse Dong also won his second consecutive ACC title. At 157 pounds, the top-seeded Dong recorded a fall of Duke’s Ryan Harding in the quarterfinals and then disposed of N.C. State’s Colton Palmer 6-1 in the semifinals. In the championship match, he downed Maryland’s Kyle John 6-3.

Tech’s third title came at 133 pounds, where freshman Devin Carter continued his amazing season. Carter, the top seed who got a bye in the quarterfinals, recorded a fall of North Carolina’s Pat Owens in the semis and then destroyed Joe Spisak of Virginia 19-4 in the championship.

Things fell apart for the Hokies, who qualified six for the championship round, after Dong’s victory at 157. Pete Yates lost at 165 pounds to top-seeded John Asper of Maryland, falling 9-3 in the championship bout. Chris Penny fell to second-seeded Zac Bennett of North Carolina 9-4 at 197 pounds, and in the heavyweight division, top-seeded David Marone dropped a heartbreaker to third-seeded Spencer Myers of Maryland 3-2 in the first tiebreaker.

Also, it was a disappointing meet for 141-pound Chris Diaz. The senior, who earned All-America honors last season at the NCAA Championships, dropped his opening match to fifth-seed Nick Nelson of Virginia. He then lost to Nelson again in the third-place match, thus he ended up fourth in the championships.

Overall, Tech qualified four wrestlers automatically for the upcoming NCAA Championships. Garnett, Carter, Dong and Yates are assured of making the trip to Philadelphia for the March 17-19 event. Diaz, Marone and Brian Stephens, who finished third at 149 pounds, could earn at-large bids.

Maryland won the title with 94.5 points, outdistancing Tech’s 82.5 points. Maryland finished with five individual champions, as well as a runner-up.