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Camacho earns OW honors at ACC Tournament, qualifies for NCAA tourney

Danbury native Jakob Camacho upset the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the country to win his first ACC Tournament title Sunday. (Photo courtesy NC State)

Danbury native Jakob Camacho is going to the NCAA Division I tournament in two weeks. Camacho, a redshirt freshman at North Carolina State, earned his invitation by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship at 125 pounds with a big 11-4 win over the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the country, Jack Mueller of Virginia.

Camacho helped the Wolfpack win the ACC Tournament championship for the third time in the last five years and for the 17th time in school history. North Carolina State beat Pittsburgh, 81-77 to win the tournament.

Camacho is the only wrestler with Connecticut ties that will be wrestling in the NCAA Division I tournament in Minneapolis. Former Joel Barlow wrestler Emmitt LiCastri of Franklin and Marshall (165) and Newtown’s Joe Accousti (174) of Sacred Heart competed in this weekend’s Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament but neither qualified.

Camacho (19-6) came into the final ranked No. 18 in the country but got two quick takedowns and a four-point near fall against Mueller in the first period to build up an early 8-1 lead.

“I am happy with my performance,” he said. “I’m proud of myself. I gave it my all today and that is all I can ask of myself.”

It was Mueller’s first loss of the season in 14 matches and it helped Camacho earn the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award. The NCAA Division I tournament is March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis — the new home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

 

LiCastri went 1-2 at the EIWA championships at Lehigh at 165 pounds. Wrestling in the tournament for the fourth year, LiCastri (27-12) dropped opening match in overtime to No. 6 seed Grant Cuomo of Princeton, 4-2. LiCastri got a takedown with 25 seconds left in the third period to force OT. But Cuomo got a takedown with 23 seconds remaining in OT for the victory.

LiCastri beat Columbia’s Riley Jacobs in his first consolation round match, 4-1 but was eliminated in a 9-3 defeat at the hands of Cornell’s Milik Dawkins.

Four wrestlers from Sacred Heart went 1-2 in the EIWA tournament.

Accousti (174) dropped his opening round match to Bucknell’s Mitch Hartman in overtime, 3-1. Accousti got an escape with 1:50 left in the third to tie the match while Hartman got his match-winning takedown just 19 seconds in OT.

Accousti had three takedowns and two near falls in a 13-3 win over Aidan Monteverdi of Binghamton in the consolation round before getting eliminated in a 7-1 loss to Hofstra’s Sage Heller.

Kyle Davis, seeded No. 7 in the tournament, had high hopes to gaining an NCAA tournament bid at 184 pounds. But Davis also lost his opening round match in overtime to No. 10 Charles Small of Hofstra, 5-3. Tied at 2-2, Davis took the lead with 1:23 remaining on an escape but was penalized for stalling with 47 seconds left to tie the match at 3-3.

In overtime, Small got the takedown with 15 seconds left for the win.

Davis pinned Drexel’s Owen Brooks in 6:17 in his first consolation round bout but was eliminated with a 10-7 loss to Cornell’s Jonathan Loew, who had a 6-2 lead after one period thanks to three takedowns.

Sacred Heart’s Brandon Levesque (165) was the only Pioneer wrestler to advance to the quarterfinals with his opening round win over Hofstra’s Richard Stramm, 12-5. Levesque grabbed a quick 6-0 lead in the first period on a takedown and a four-point near fall.

However, Harvard’s Philip Conigliaro beat Levesque, 8-4 with a takedown with 19 seconds left giving him a four-point lead. Levesque was eliminated in a 12-5 loss to American University’s Timothy Fitzpatrick, who got five takedowns in the match.

Sacred Heart’s Robert Hetherman (197) and Nick Palumbo (149) each went 1-2 in the tournament, earning a win in the consolation round.

With three individual champions and five finalists, Lehigh won the EIWA championship with 154 points with Cornell (120), Army (112) and Navy (104½) trailing. Sacred Heart was last among the 17 teams in the tournament with 5½ points.

 

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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