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The postseason is upon us for NCAA wrestling. After four months of battling for the No. 10 Hokies, it all comes down to the ACC tournament to decide who is, and who isn’t, going to the national tournament.

Despite winning a share of the dual title this season and winning it outright in 2020, the Hokies have not won the ACC championship since 2018. With two Hokies having the first seed, and five having the second seed, they are looking to change that this season.

Starting at 125 pounds, Eddie Ventresca comes in as the second seed in the ACC tournament. The only wrestler who ranks higher than Ventresca is NC State’s Jarrett Trombley, who beat Ventresca in sudden victory earlier in the season. Unfortunately for Ventresca and Trombley, 125 pounds in the ACC was only awarded two pre-allocations for the national tournament, which is the lowest weight class in the ACC. So, if either of them gets upset in this tournament, they will have to rely on a hard-to-get at-large bid from the NCAA.

Sam Latona also comes in as a two-seed in the ACC tournament, at 133 pounds. The wrestler who ranks higher than Latona is Pitt’s Micky Phillippi, who beat Latona back in January in extra time. Latona is looking to win his second ACC championship. Latona won back in 2021 and then placed second in 2022. For 133 pounds in the ACC, there will be three guaranteed wrestlers moving on to Oklahoma for the national tournament.

At 141 pounds, Tom Crook will be a four-seed in Raleigh. The ACC is stacked at 141 pounds, with their top four wrestlers all coming within the top 12 in the nation. For that, the NCAA awarded the ACC four automatic qualifiers at this weight class. Crook went 14–7 in his freshman season, but only 1–3 in ACC action, losing to all three wrestlers who are seeded higher than him.

149 pounds brings in the Hokies’ first number-one seed. The freshman, Caleb Henson, has been unstoppable in ACC bouts this year, going a perfect 5–0 against conference opponents. Henson has really been tearing it up all season long, putting up a 19–3 record with a bonus percentage of 45%. The top three wrestlers at 149 pounds in the ACC will automatically move on to the national tournament later in March.

Bryce Andonian will be a two-seed at the ACC tournament for the Hokies at 157 pounds. After injuries held back Andonian early in the season, he only wrestled in eight matches total on the season. He finished 7–1 on the season with six of those wins coming with bonus points. You may ask, “Who beat Andonian this season?” That would be none other than North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor, who is the number seed at 157 pounds. O’Connor not only beat Andonian when the Hokies went down to Chapel Hill, he won by major decision. After placing second in the ACC championship three years in a row, 2022 All-American Andonian is looking to finally get over the hill and win the ACC. The top three wrestlers at 157 pounds will get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Another four seed at 165 pounds for the Hokies with Connor Brady. At 165 pounds, the NCAA only awarded the ACC with three automatic qualifiers. Brady will be the only Hokie on March 5th who will have to upset someone to qualify for nationals.

The Hokies’ only ACC reigning champion is at 174 pounds with Mekhi Lewis. Lewis once again comes in as the number one seed in the tournament. Lewis is looking for his third ACC championship this year, winning one as well in his national championship season back in 2019. The only time Lewis did not win the ACC tournament was in 2021 when he had to medically withdraw. After going 5–0 in ACC play, Lewis is looking to win the conference title once again. The top three wrestlers at 174 pounds will get the automatic bid to the national tournament.

184 pounds is the toughest weight class in the ACC, and the NCAA recognizes that. Five of the six wrestlers at 184 pounds will get the automatic bid to the national tournament. Hunter Bolen, for the Hokies, comes in as the second seed in that star-studded group. The only wrestler ranked higher than Bolen is Trent Hidlay, who beat Bolen earlier this season. Hidlay and Bolen have wrestled a total of six times in their collegiate career, with both of them winning three. The odds are that Bolen and Hidlay will face off one final time in Raleigh.

Andy Smith will be competing in his second ACC tournament for the Hokies at 197 pounds. Back in 2021, Smith went 0–2 in the tournament. This season, Smith comes in as the number two seed after an impressive season. Smith went 3–1 in ACC matches this season, with his only loss coming to the top-seeded Nino Bonaccorsi where Smith lost 1–3. At 197 pounds, the top four wrestlers will get to move on to the national tournament.

Finally, at 285 pounds, Hunter Catka will be the three seed while representing the Hokies. Catka, as well as Smith, will be wrestling in his second ACC tournament. Catka’s last time out was also back in 2021, but his appearance went very differently than Smith’s as placed second back in 2021. In 2022, Nathan Traxler won the 285 pound division for the Hokies, so Catka has big shoes to fill this season. The NCAA gave the ACC three automatic qualifiers at 285 pounds.

The ACC championship will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 5.

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