Sheptock takes ACC title - 3 other Terps earn NCAA bids

Jimmy Sheptock remained undefeated on the season while Tyler Goodwin, Christian Boley, and Spencer Myers also picked up NCAA bids

The Maryland Terrapins' wrestling team fell a bit short of its stated goal of winning their twenty-fifth ACC team title in their final season. The Terps finishing fifth with 37.5 points half a point behind fourth place North Carolina. The Virginia Tech Hokies, who also served as the host school, won the team championship with 87 points far outdistancing the second place Pitt Panthers who finished second with 67 points. Virginia placed third with 61.5 points. NC State and Duke trailed the Terps in the team standings.

Four Terps placed high enough to earn automatic bids to the upcoming NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City. Tyler Goodwin placed second at 133 pounds. Christian Boley finished fourth in the 197 pound weight class while heavyweight Spencer Myers also finished second. The Terps produced one ACC champion - Jimmy Sheptock who won the third conference title of his Maryland career at 184 pounds.

At 125 pounds, Paul O'Neill entered the tournament having won four of his last five matches with his only loss being a close 8-6 to nationally seventh ranked David Terao from American University. However, the sophomore was unable to recapture his late season momentum dropping major decisions in both the championship and consolation brackets.

Shyheim Brown who began the season strongly for the Terps then struggled mid-season but who came on again late winning his last five matches heading into the ACC Tournament disappointed failing to crack the top four at 141 pounds. After securing a second straight win over fourth seeded Joe Spisak 9-6 in his opening match, Brown lost a shocking 24-0 24-9 per Duck's correction) tech fall to eventual champion Devin Carter of Virginia Tech.

At 149 pounds, Frank Goodwin dropped both his matches as did Danny Orem at 157 pounds. The Snook brothers, Josh and Ty, suffered similar fates at 165 and 174 pounds as well.

As for the wrestlers who finished in the top four and earned NCAA bids, Goodwin is probably the most surprising. The sophomore finished the season 13-7 but had won five of his last six coming into the ACC Tournament. He started his day with a close 6-5 win over fifth seed Troy Heilman from UNC. In one of the tournament's more stunning moments, he then pinned top seeded and nationally twentieth ranked Sheldon Mack of Pitt. He eventually fell in a major decision to Virginia Tech's Dennis Gustafson in the title bout.

At 197 pounds, Christian Boley entered the tournament as the top seed. This earned him a bye into the semi-final round where he fell 3-1 in sudden victory to fourth seeded Zach Nye of Virginia. In the consolation round, he took a 6-4 decision from KaRonne Jones of NC State but he dropped the third place match to Duke's Connor Hartman.

After taking a redshirt year in 2013, Spencer Myers came into the tournament as the number two seed and was seeking his third ACC title. The day started exceptionally well for Myers who won by fall in just 1:01 in his opening match against North Carolina's Bob Coe. He struggled a bit against the third seed, PJ Tasser of Pitt but pulled out a 2-1 decision to set up the title match with NC State's nationally third ranked Nick Gwiazdowski. The bout was a rematch of an epic battle the two had when they faced off against each other three weeks ago in College Park in which Gwiazdowski got off to a big lead before Myers rallied in the third period before falling just short of completing the comeback. Saturday's match had no such drama as Gwiazdowski again took control early and won a relatively easy 10-4 decision.

The Terrapins' other top seeded wrestler, Jimmy Sheptock, lived up to that position by taking the title at 184 pounds. Sheptock, currently ranked number one in the nation, started his day with a 2-0 semi-final win over Virginia's Jonathan Fausey. His opponent in the championship match, Pitt's Max Thomusseit, had lost only one match on the year - to Jimmy Sheptock. Thomusseit was the aggressor early but some nifty defense by the Maryland senior led to a scoreless first period. Sheptock started the second in the down position and earned the first point of the match with an escape after 28 seconds. He allowed his foe an early escape in the third that evened the score at one. After skillfully fighting off a single leg takedown attempt that would have succeeded against most other wrestlers, Sheptock turned the attack to his advantage and earned a takedown of his own and secure the 3-1 match win.

With the win, Sheptock, who has never lost a dual meet in his Maryland career, moved to a perfect 28-0 on the season. He has never lost to an ACC wrestler and his win was the 200th individual ACC title for Maryland wrestling. Sheptock should be the top seed going into the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City beginning March 20.

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