Senior Corey Bell became the first wrestler from the state of North Carolina to win four ACC titles Saturday, ending a surprisingly illustrious career with a 6-5 win against N.C. State's Dustin Kawa in the 174-pound weight class.
"This is a kid who was all but a walk-on," UNC coach Bill Lam said. "He came to school for books."
But he became a wrestling star.
After winning the ACC title in the 184-pound weight class his freshman year in his hometown of Durham, Bell finished his career in Chapel Hill at 174 pounds, the third class at which he has won a title.
"After I won my first one in Durham, everyone was like, 'You're going to be a four-time ACC champion, rah rah rah!'" Bell said. "But I wouldn't wish this upon anybody. When you're No. 1, everybody gives 110 percent to beat you."
Kawa was one of those competitors, and he put Bell into a blind rage.
With 15 seconds left in the first period and Bell leading 4-3, Kawa inadvertantly elbowed Bell in the eye, causing him to hop around violently, covering the painful bruise.
The injury forced Bell to change his strategy.