The No. 14 North Carolina wrestling team hosted the No. 21 Virginia Cavaliers for senior night and its last dual meet of the season on Saturday, overcoming UVA, 25-9.
The Tar Heels started strong in the 133-pound weight class with redshirt sophomore Joe Heilmann taking down Virginia's No. 10 Louie Hayes for three points.
North Carolina dominated the next two rounds to stretch its lead to 10-0, with No. 10 Zach Sherman earning three more points in the 141-pound bout and No. 1 Austin O’Connor winning four points in the 149-pound weight class.
Virginia got its first three points on the board in the 157-pound bout with No. 17 Justin McCoy prevailing over North Carolina redshirt senior Josh McClure.
No. 11 Kennedy Monday had a close matchup with Virginia’s No. 13 Jake Keating in the 165-pound weight class next. With Keating just edging forward in the high-scoring bout, Monday was defeated, bringing Virginia up within striking distance of UNC, 10-6.
No. 18 Clay Lautt put North Carolina up 13-6 in the 174-pound bout, beating his opponent Vic Marcelli 7-1 following a late takedown. Following Lautt’s lead, 184-pounder Devin Kane put on an impressive performance to bring the Tar Heels' lead to 19-6. after pinning his opponent for UNC's lone pin of the night.
In the 197-pound bout, UNC's No. 18 Max Shaw fell to No. 8 Jay Aiello to give the Cavaliers three more points.
Redshirt senior Andrew Gunning brought the Tar Heels up 22-9 in the heavyweight class to put points on the board after being honored in the senior night festivities before the meet.
The 125-pound weight class rounded out the night, with UNC first-year Will Guida defeating Virginia's Josiah Encarnacion for North Carolina’s last three points to solidify a 25-9 victory.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heels started out with an upset, as unranked 133-pounder Heilmann defeated No. 10 Hayes to kick off an impressive night for North Carolina.
“It started off the dual off the right way,” head coach Coleman Scott said. “We knew he had it in him and he stayed solid and wrestled well.”
O’Connor had a major victory early in the meet that brought the Tar Heels the most points scored on the night by a single wrestler.
When was it decided?
The outcome of the meet was made clear when UNC scored 10 points in the first three rounds. The Cavaliers finished the meet in single-digits, never catching up to North Carolina's early lead.
Why does it matter?
As the last dual meet of the season, the Tar Heels finished strong with an overall record of 5-2 and conference record of 3-2, with both losses coming against top 10 teams. The graduates will represent the first full class of seniors Scott has recruited.
“We sent the seniors out on a win,” Scott said. “I think it ended on a good note, now it’s just time to get better, focus on the 10 guys and make the most of this postseason.”
When do they play next?
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