The ACC Wrestling Championships are just a few days away, and fans now have an idea of what the tournament will look like. The ACC released seeds and brackets for the 2019 tournament on Tuesday morning.
Virginia Tech, who is hosting the tournament in Blacksburg for the first time since 2014, leads all schools with three No. 1 seeds. Those wrestlers are Mekhi Lewis, David McFadden and Zack Zavatsky, all of whom went undefeated in ACC duals this season.
By earning the No. 1 seed in their respective weight classes, each wrestler receives a bye in the first round of the tournament. That means that to become an ACC Champion, each of them will only have to win two matches on the day.
Lewis arguably has the easiest path to becoming a champion, as he has beaten three of his possible opponents by major decision. He'll face either Zach Finesilver or Sawyer Davidson in the semifinals, and he could face two-seed Cam Coy in the finals. Lewis beat each of them by at least eight points in their regular season matchups.
Zavatsky will be facing opponents that he's dominated as well. His semifinal match will be against either Kaden Russell or Chip Ness, both of whom he defeated by major decision in the regular season.
Other Hokies to received first-round byes are No. 2 Mitch Moore at 141 pounds and No. 2 Tom Sleigh at 197 pounds. Moore finished the ACC season with a 3-2 record, while Sleigh went 3-1 in ACC duals. Sleigh's only conference loss was to North Carolina's Brandon Whitman, who he could potentially face in the semifinals.
Other seeds for the Hokies are No. 3 Joey Prata at 125 pounds, No. 4 Korbin Myers at 133 pounds, No. 4 Ryan Blees at 149 pounds, No. 3 BC LaPrade at 157 pounds and No. 3 Billy Miller at 285 pounds.
Some interesting rematches could occur if things fall into place this weekend. If Myers beats Louie Hayes in the first round of the 133-pound bracket, he'll face one-seed Micky Phillippi in the semifinals. Myers defeated Phillippi in Cassell Coliseum earlier this season, when Phillippi was ranked No. 2 in the country.
Sleigh could potentially face NC State's Malik McDonald in the semifinals. The two faced off in the regular season finale, with Sleigh narrowly winning a 3-2 decision. If they meet again in the ACC Tournament, you can bet it would be an exciting match.
Ryan Blees takes on Virginia's Michael Murphy in the first round of the 149-pound bracket. Blees has defeated Murphy twice this season, at the Virginia Duals in January and when the teams met again for the Commonwealth Clash. The second match was a bit closer, as Blees earned a 3-2 decision. Murphy should put up a tough fight as he tries to avoid losing to Blees for the third time this season.
Complete brackets for the 2019 ACC Championships can be found here. Whatever matches take place, it will be an exciting event when the tournament begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 9 in Cassell Coliseum.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athetlics