Not many sports give teams a chance to win bonus points based on how they performed, but in wrestling, extra points are crucial in order to win meets. The No. 17 North Carolina wrestling team used that to its full advantage, piling up the bonus points in a 22-13 win against No. 25 Virginia on Saturday night in Carmichael Arena.
When a wrestler wins by a normal decision, three points are added to the team score, but winning by what is called a major decision, meaning a margin of more than eight points, adds four points to the team’s score. Head coach Coleman Scott stressed the importance of earning that bonus point following the victory.
“Before we went out, I said, ‘We are the ones that score bonus points. We don’t give it up, we score it,’” Scott said.
The Tar Heels (8-5, 1-0 ACC) took Scott's words to heart, winning four bouts by major decision. Those bonus points were crucial in ending the match early, when a Virginia (11-7, 0-1 ACC) comeback became impossible.
An early victory meant that the lighter Tar Heels were getting the job done to open the match. After first-year Joe Heilmann lost via major decision to Virginia’s No. 5 Jack Mueller in the 125-pound bout, UNC rattled off three straight major decision victories of its own, the first of which coming from redshirt senior Gary Wayne Harding in the 133-pound bout.