ACC declares 2021 wrestling season honors

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Austin O’Connor has been named ACC Wrestler of the 12 months (Photograph/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Nationwide champion Austin O’Connor of North Carolina has been chosen the Atlantic Coast Convention Wrestler of the 12 months and heads up the game’s 2021 season award winners introduced on Wednesday.

O’Connor is joined by ACC Freshman of the 12 months Sam Latona of Virginia Tech, whereas NC State’s Pat Popolizio and Pitt’s Keith Gavin obtained the nod as ACC Co-Wrestling Coaches of the 12 months.

ACC season honors are decided by a vote of the league’s head coaches.

The second-seeded O’Connor’s 3-2 win over No. 1 seed Sammy Sasso of Ohio State within the 149-pound remaining on March 20 secured UNC’s first NCAA wrestling gold medal since 1995 and the twentieth all-time NCAA particular person title by an ACC wrestler. It marked the sixth NCAA title all-time by a Tar Heel wrestler.

O’Connor, a redshirt junior from Lockport, Illinois, additionally efficiently defended his convention title within the 149-pound weight class on the ACC Championships on Feb. 28. He completed the season 13-0, together with a 6-0 mark towards ACC opponents.

Virginia Tech’s Latona positioned sixth within the 125-pound weight class on the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors in his first season competing connected for the Hokies. The redshirt freshman from Alabaster, Alabama, completed the season with a 14-3 mark that included an 8-0 duals file and the ACC Championship at 125.

Latona, considered one of 43 Virginia Tech All-Individuals all-time and considered one of three this season, posted an 8-0 mark in twin matches.

NC State’s Pat Popolizio earned ACC Co-Coach of the 12 months honors with Pitt’s Keith Gavin (Photograph/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)

Popolizio led NC State to its third consecutive group title on the ACC Championships, and the Wolfpack went on to a sixth-place NCAA group end (68 whole factors) that ranked because the second-best at school historical past. It marked the sixth top-10 end for this system general, and the second top-10 end within the final three NCAA Championships (school-best fourth in 2018).

The Wolfpack’s 4 All-America wrestlers – which included NCAA silver medalist Trent Hidlay – tied a program file. NC State turned the primary faculty to say three consecutive ACC wrestling championships since North Carolina received 4 in a row from 1997-2000. NC State secured 4 ACC particular person championships and completed 24 factors forward of second-place Virginia Tech within the group scoring.

Beneath Gavin’s watch, Pitt positioned two wrestlers within the NCAA Championship finals (Jake Wentzel at 165 kilos and Nino Bonaccorsi at 197) for the primary time since 1963 and completed eleventh general within the remaining group standings.

That marked Pitt’s finest NCAA end since 1970, when the group positioned eighth. The Panthers’ 40.5 whole factors had been this system’s highest below the NCAA’s present scoring format.



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