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Camacho takes second in ACC Tournament, earns NCAA Div. I bid

North Carolina State’s Jakob Camacho (125) drives against Virginia’s Patrick McCormick earlier this season. (Photo courtesy North Carolina State Wrestling)

A second wrestle with Connecticut ties has earned a spot at the NCAA Division I championships in St. Louis on March 18-20.

North Carolina State’s Jakob Camacho (125) earned his second straight trip to the national tournament by finishing second at Sunday’s ACC championships in Raleigh, N.C. at the Reynolds Coliseum. Newtown’s Joe Accousti (184) of Sacred Heart earned his first NCAA tournament berth on Friday by finishing sixth at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) championships.

Camacho (8-2) has lost just two matches this season – both to the same wrestler. Virginia Tech’s Sam Latona (10-0) beat Camacho, 2-1 in double OT in the finals at 125 pounds to win his first ACC championship.

Yet, in the end, it was Camacho celebrating with teammates as No. 7 North Carolina State captured their third straight ACC championship with a dominant 85½ to 65½ victory over Virginia Tech. It was the third in team history that the Wolfpack have won three straight ACC titles and the first time since 1988-91.

North Carolina State was buoyed by Trent Hidlay’s overtime sudden victory over top-ranked Hunter Bolen of Virginia Tech at 184 pounds, plus dominating efforts by four-time ACC champion Hayden Hidlay at 157 and Tariq Wilson at 141.

Camacho won his first match of the tournament with a 10-1 win over Duke’s Logan Agin to secure his spot in the NCAA tournament. The top three wrestlers at 125 automatically earn tournament berths. A takedown late in the second period helped Camacho take a 3-0 lead.

In the third period, Camacho put Agin on his back to pick another four near fall points and a commanding 7-0 lead.

In the championship bout against Latona, it was Camacho who took a 1-0 lead in the second period thanks to an escape. In the third period, Latona escaped quickly to tie the bout at 1-1. Camacho had two good takedown attempts but Latona was able to successfully ward them off.

In the first overtime, both wrestlers scrambled well to avoid giving up any points.

In the second OT, Latona escapes early in the 30-second period for a 2-1 lead. Camacho came close to getting a takedown but ran out of time. In the second half of the second OT, Latona is able to ride out Camacho to earn the win.

Another Connecticut wrestler was in action this weekend at the Southern Conference championship meet in Boone, North Carolina.

Appalachian State‘s Michael Burchell, the sophomore from Hand-Madison, finished fourth at 285 pounds with a 2-2 record. However, only the top two wrestlers earned a spot in the NCAA Div. I tournament at 285.

Burchell (8-7) won his first tournament bout with a 7-5 win over Chattanooga’s Grayson Walthall before getting pinned by Michael McAleavey of The Citadel in the semifinals, 1:32. After a win over VMI’s Giomar Ramos, Burchell was pinned in the consolation final in 3:13 by Gardner-Webb’s Anthony Perrine.

Appalachian State finished second in the Southern Conference tournament behind Campbell University, 92-87.

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 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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