Three Hokies looking for at-large bids to NCAA Championships
BLACKSBURG - While four Virginia Tech wrestlers already know they?ll be competing at the NCAA Championships March 17-19 in Philadelphia, the fates - and seasons - of three others will lie in the hands of a selection committee as they failed to qualify automatically based on their performances at last weekend?s ACC Championships.
?I want to thank all of the hundreds of Hokie fans who followed to the ACC Championships this past weekend in Charlottesville,? head coach Kevin Dresser said. ?Although we fell short of our goal to win the tournament, we wrestled very well in some weight classes. Our three champions, Jarrod Garnett (125), Devin Carter (133), and Jesse Dong (157) all won ACC titles and all three should get a top 12 seed later this week. Pete Yates (165) finished second and also earned an automatic bid.?
Garnett, Carter and Dong all won their weight class, and Pete Yates finished second to automatically make the mark, but Chris Diaz (141), Brian Stephens (149) and David Marone (285) have to wait until Wednesday to find out if their seasons continue or are over.
All three are ?gold? qualifiers, meaning they earned points in the winning percentage, RPI and coaches? poll rankings. But none of the three qualified automatically after failing to finish within the weight-class specific levels at the conference championship. At 141 pounds, the ACC got three bids and Diaz finished fourth. At 149 pounds, the ACC got two bids and Stephens placed third and at heavyweight, only the champion got a bid and Marone fell in the finals.
The NCAA selection committee will now determine the at-large selections for all 10 weight classes and will announce those selections Wednesday. Based on where the three were ranked, coupled with results from the other tournaments around the country, all three stand a good shot of being selected, but nothing is guaranteed.
?Finishing this season strong is how we are measured and with our four automatic qualifiers and hopefully three at-large bids, we feel we can finish strong,? Dresser said. ?We will find out on Wednesday just who gets those remaining at large bids. I feel confident that Chris Diaz (141), Brian Stephens (149), and David Marone (HWT) have been solid enough to earn an at-large bid.
?We need to be ready and excited to take on all comers next weekend In Philadelphia!!?
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).