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ACC Lands 33 Automatic Bids to 2021 NCAA Wrestling Championships; Six Panthers Ranked by NCAA Coaches Panel

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The Atlantic Coast Conference has received 33 automatic NCAA tournament qualifications for the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 18-20 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, the conference office announced Wednesday, Feb. 11 .

Including a qualifying spot for each of its 10 conference champions, ACC allotments by weight class are as follows: 125 (3), 133 (4), 141 (3), 149 (3), 157 (4), 165 (3), 174 (3), 184 (3), 197 (3), 285 (4).

The ACC’s 33 automatic qualifiers are four shy of the league record of 37 set two seasons ago.

The weight class conference champion in each qualifying tournament will earn an automatic qualifier to the national championships. Each conference was awarded additional pre-allocations based on the five-year average (2016-20) of pre-allocations earned by the conference in each weight class.

In recent years, pre-allocations have been determined by a formula measuring Division I winning percentage, ratings percentage index and coaches’ ranking. A decrease in overall matches, and in particular non-conference matches, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, led the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee to transition to using the five-year historical average to determine pre-allocations for 2021. For any adjustments in conference alignment over the last five years, historical pre-allocations stayed with the conference where they were earned. The competition status of schools for 2021 also did not impact the calculation of pre-allocations.

“The committee knew that there wasn’t going to be enough regular-season competition to utilize the existing process where wrestlers earned pre-allocations for their conference based on regular season performance,” Karen Langston, senior associate athletics director at California State University, Bakersfield and chair of the wrestling committee said in an official NCAA release. “The option to utilize the five-year historical average was an equitable alternative, and the way it worked out has opened more at-large spots this year for deserving wrestlers who don’t qualify through their conference tournament.”

NC State will be the host school for the ACC Wrestling Championship, which is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28, at Reynolds Coliseum.

After the conference tournaments have concluded, the Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining at-large qualifiers to fill out the 33-man bracket in each weight class, which will be announced March 9, while brackets and seeding will be announced on ncaa.com at 6 p.m. March 10.

COACHES RANKINGS

All ranked ACC wrestlers by the coaches’ panel, by weight class and school affiliation, are as follows (Pitt wrestlers appear bolded):

125 pounds – 4. Sam Latona, Virginia Tech; 5. Jakob Camacho, NC State

133 pounds – 3. Micky Phillippi, Pitt; 5. Korbin Myers, Virginia Tech; 7. Louie Hayes, Virginia; 8. Jaime Hernandez, North Carolina; 10. Jarrett Trombley, NC State

141 pounds – 8. Tariq Wilson, NC State; 9. Zach Sherman, North Carolina; 14. Brian Courtney, Virginia; 17. Cole Matthews, Pitt; 23. Sam Hillegas, Virginia Tech

149 pounds – 2. Austin O’Connor, North Carolina; 10. Brandon Andonian, Virginia Tech; 22. Josh Finesilver, Duke; 28. Luke Kemerer, Pitt; 31. Ed Scott, NC State

157 pounds – 1. Hayden Hidlay, NC State; 17. Justin McCoy, Virginia; 25. Josh McClure, North Carolina; 29. Conor Brady, Virginia Tech

165 pounds – 1. Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech; 9. Jake Wentzel, Pitt; 10. Kennedy Monday, North Carolina; 11. Jake Keating, Virginia; 17. Thomas Bullard, NC State

174 pounds – 12. Daniel Bullard, NC State; 16. Clay Lautt, North Carolina; 28. Victor Marcelli, Virginia

184 pounds – 1. Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech; 3. Trent Hidlay, NC State; 21. Michael Battista, Virginia; 22. Devin Kane, North Carolina; 24. Gregg Harvey, Pitt

197 pounds – 7. Nino Bonaccorsi, Pitt; 9. Isaac Trumble, NC State; 10. Jay Aiello, Virginia; 18. Max Shaw, North Carolina; No. 29 Stan Smeltzer, Virginia Tech

285 pounds – 17. Deonte Wilson, NC State; 19. John Borst, Virginia Tech; 20. Quinn Miller, Virginia; 27- Andrew Gunning, North Carolina

The complete NCAA Division I Wrestling Coaches Rank – Through Matches of Feb. 7, can be seen here. Additionally, a full description of the entire selection process for the 2021 Division I Wrestling Championships is available at ncaa.org.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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