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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC wrestling rallies for first ACC win of the season

The North Carolina wrestling team rewrote a familiar narrative to earn its first ACC win of the season against Virginia, 27-20.

The Tar Heels fell down 12-0 early in Saturday's dual — making it the third straight ACC matchup that saw them fighting from behind. The first two results resulted in at the hands of Virginia Tech and N.C. State. 

North Carolina would not let this match get away, though. Redshirt junior Joey Ward and redshirt senior Evan Henderson dominated in the next two matches after UNC went down 12-0, bringing the score to 12-11.

Virginia’s Andrew Atkinson won the next match against redshirt senior Robert Henderson, putting the Cavaliers up 16-11.

Then the Tar Heels took over.

North Carolina won the next four matches, highlighted by commanding performances from redshirt senior John Michael Staudenmeyer and redshirt sophomore Ethan Ramos — who shut out their opponents.

The momentum continued, carrying UNC to a 27-20 win over the Cavaliers.

The Tar Heels showcased mental toughness in the win, something Coach Coleman Scott criticized his team for lacking in their loss to N.C. State.

The inspiring performance and comeback victory for North Carolina show a team that learned from its past mistakes and improved on them — a quality the team will need to maintain as it heads into more ACC matchups.


“Look them in the eye and tell them that we need them. Not that I just need them, but that the team needs them. We have to fight till the end. ... We were down going into the last six matches and we stepped up.” — Scott on how he motivated his players when the Tar Heels were behind early.


With the victory, UNC is now 1-2 in the ACC. With duals against N.C. State and Virginia Tech already behind them, the Tar Heels will look to improve their record in ACC play in the upcoming weeks.

Three numbers that matter

44: Number of pins in Evan Henderson’s career. He is six pins shy of T.J. Jaworsky’s school record of 50 pins.

9: Nine of the 10 matches were bonus-point victories between the two teams.

176: Seconds before Ward pinned his opponent in the first round. The victory helped turn the tide of the dual for the Tar Heels.

What’s next?

UNC has a doubleheader on Wednesday, facing Navy at 5:00 p.m. and ACC rival Duke at 7:00 p.m. Both duals will take place at Carmichael Arena.


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