UNC wrestling has disappointing showing at NCAA Championships
Five wrestlers represented North Carolina at the 2017 NCAA Championships over the weekend. Danny Chaid led the way for the Tar Heels, advancing to the Round of 12 at 197 pounds before being eliminated.
Chaid, Troy Heilmann and Ethan Ramos advanced to the second day by finishing 1-1 on Thursday. Heilmann got it started in the 149-pound group, losing his first match by a technical fall before rebounding to win his second. Ramos and Chaid both won their first matches of the day before falling in their second events to place into the consolation brackets of their weight groups at 174 and 197 pounds, respectively. Senior Joey Ward competed in the last NCAA Championships of his decorated collegiate career. The 2016 All-American lost both matches at 141 pounds to finish the season at 26-7. Ward finished his illustrious career with a record of 98-34.
Chaid had a strong Friday, winning his first two matches before falling in the Round of 12 against No. 6 Preston Weigel of Oklahoma State. Chaid won his first match 10-5 and won a 6-5 overtime thriller in his second match. He lost the last contest after a near fall in the final period. Ramos and Heilmann were also eliminated on day two, losing their first matches in the consolation bracket.
Who stood out?
Chaid had a very strong run in his first NCAA Championship appearance. The junior was 3-2 at nationals and advanced to the final 12 of his weight class before losing to Weigel.
Heilmann and Ramos also earned wins for UNC, but each finished the championships 1-3 overall.
When was it decided?
Senior Joey Ward’s All-American hopes were dashed early on as he lost his first two matches and was quickly eliminated. Corey Daniel was also eliminated after two matches.
Why does it matter?
It was a disappointing result for the Tar Heel squad. Both Ward and Ramos were previously All-Americans and hoped to be again this year. Unfortunately for UNC, neither was able to repeat the feat.
Ramos has one year of eligibility left to reclaim his All-American spot. Chaid was superb in his first year at NCAAs and hopes to build upon his success for his senior season. Four of the five wrestlers that competed over the weekend will return next season.
Who do they play next?
The Tar Heels will not wrestle again until the fall of 2017.