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    Wrestling Heads to Maryland for ACC Championships
    Head coach Pat Popolizio leads the Pack into the ACC Championships.
    Head coach Pat Popolizio leads the Pack into the ACC Championships.

    March 7, 2013

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    RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State wrestling team heads to College Park, Md., this weekend to compete in the 2013 ACC Championships. The Pack has claimed 14 ACC titles since the conference was formed in 1954, with the most recent coming in 2007.

    NC State has won 110 ACC individual titles in league history, with Darrion Caldwell’s win at 149 pounds in 2011 coming as the most recent.

    ACC Receives 30 NCAA Wrestling Championship Qualifier Allocations: The ACC received a league-record 30 NCAA automatic spots, including multiple qualifiers in nine of the 10 weight classes.

    The ACC received five qualifiers in the 133-pound weight class, and four qualifiers in the 125-, 141- and 184-pound pound weight classes. Three spots were awarded to the conference at 165 and 174. The 149-, 157- and 197-pound weight classes each received two slots, with the heavyweight division receiving one.

    In the Rankings: In the final Division I NCAA coaches’ panel rankings, a trio of NC State wrestlers are ranked: freshman Sam Speno is No. 31 at 133 pounds, freshman Tyler Hunt is also No. 31 at 141 pounds, and junior Nijel Jones is No. 30 at 165 pounds.

    Young Pack: Fans that are following the Pack at the ACC Championships this weekend, will need a roster to help recognize this year’s squad.

    Of the 10 probable starters, only three wrestled for the Pack last season.

    Back are juniors Nijel Jones (165) and Matt Nereim (157) and sophomore Thomas Gantt (149).

    The seven newcomers are comprised of a junior transfer, a redshirt freshman and five true freshmen.

    Nereim Looks for Repeat at ACC Championships: Last year, Matt Nereim used a strong performance at the ACC Championships to grab a spot at the NCAA Championships.

    Wrestling at 149 pounds a year ago, Nereim placed second, pinning top-seeded Gus Sako of Virginia just 1 minute, three seconds into the semifinal match.

    In all, four NC State wrestlers claimed NCAA automatic bids at last year’s ACC Championships.

    Jones Racks Up Wins: Junior Nijel Jones was the most experienced wrestler the Pack had returning this season. Jones was ranked throughout the whole season at 165 pounds, and led the Pack with 25 wins.

    Strong Freshmen: A pair of freshmen had strong seasons for the Pack.

    Tyler Hunt has recorded 20 wins thus far at 141 pounds, including winning his last four matches. He posted an 8-2 mark in duals during his rookie season.

    Classmate Sam Speno had a strong season at 133 pounds, as he is currently 15-10 with a 5-5 mark in dual matches thus far.

    Both wrestlers are ranked No. 31 in their weight class heading into the ACC Championships.

    Recruiting Class Ranked Ninth Nationally: First-year head coach Pat Popolizio announced seven student-athletes have signed with the Pack during the fall signing period. The class has been ranked ninth nationally by, and the second-best in the ACC.



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