Wrestling Heads to Virginia Tech for ACC Championship
March 7, 2014
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2013 ACC Championship Recap
NC State placed fifth overall with a team score of 30 points last year at Maryland. The Pack’s top finishers on the day were Tommy Gantt at 149 pounds and Mike Kosoy at 285 pounds, who both brought home third place finishes. Joe DeAngelo (125) and Sam Speno (133) both automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with their fourth place finishes.
Every time the NC State wrestling team was in home action this year, Pack fans that came to watch needed a roster to see who was on the mat. Among the Pack’s starters, only three of the current 10 saw action last season. The Pack’s starters are six freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and a senior. In all, 14 freshmen have seen action in a dual.
For the entire 2013-14 season, not including the Pack’s redshirting grapplers, the freshmen have combined for 56.9 percent (153) of the team’s total wins followed by the sophomores at 23.0 percent (62), the juniors at 11.1 percent (30) and the seniors at 8.9 percent (24).
Pack Grapplers Rack Up Wins
Four NC State wrestlers have crossed the 20-win plateau this year. Nick Gwiazdowski leads the Pack with 35 wins, the most in the nation among ranked wrestlers on TheOpenMat.com, and sixth all-time in NCSU history. Tommy Gantt is second with his 30 victories at 157 pounds, that mark is now 14th-best in the Pack record books.
Freshman Pete Renda has 24 wins at 174 pounds, the fourth-most for a freshman in NC State history. Most recently, Sam Speno joined the club and he now has 22 wins at 141 pounds this year. Freshman Brian Hamann will be looking to increase the Pack total to five, as he currently has 19 wins this year.
Gwiazdowski Enters ACCs on Hot Streak
No ACC wrestler can match the regular season that the Pack’s redshirt-sophomore Nick Gwiazdowski put together. In his final bout before the ACC Championship, Gwiazdowski defeated No. 1 ranked Michael McMullan of Northwestern in the Pack’s final dual of the year. Trailing 3-0 going into the third period, Gwiazdowski scored an escape point to start the final period and then scored a takedown to force overtime. In the extra period, he scored another takedown for the 5-3 win.
For his efforts, he was named the ACC Wrestler of the Week. In the NCAA rankings, Gwiazdowski has the seventh-most pins and is the eight-most dominate.
Gwiazdowski has won his last 13 matches dating back to Jan. 2, and finished a perfect 20-0 in duals this year. Six of his last eight wins on the year have come against ranked foes. His only losses this year are to the current No. 1 Adam Coon of Michigan (3-1) and two-time defending NCAA Champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota (1-0). He also leads the Pack in wins (35) and pins (15) this year, both marks are sixth-best at NC State.
From Selected Team Captain to Leading the Pack
His season started with being named the Pack’s team captain back in October, and Tommy Gantt has turned that honor into being one of the top wrestlers this season.
The junior from Cahokia, Ill., is second on the Pack with his 30 wins, the 14th-best mark in NC State history. He is also second with 16 dual victories, and his five tech falls lead the Pack this year.
In what will surely be a competitive battle for the ACC crown at 157 pounds, Gantt was one of three conference grapplers to finish 5-1 against league competition.
Need a Bonus Point Win, Ask Renda
While many NC State wrestlers have contributed to the Pack’s strong year, freshman Pete Renda went above and beyond in earning his team bonus points. The Topton, Pa., native was a perfect 12-0 in bonus point victories: six by pin, five by major decisions and one by tech fall.