Ethan Ramos, one of the conference title winners that beat Virginia Tech in the final round, said, "I see [wrestling] as an art." The practice space was around 75 degrees with Metallica's 'The Memory Remains' blasting in the background. "The team likes to joke around a lot but also knows how to get serious when it's time and we got each others backs," Ramos said.
The 2018 ACC Wrestling tournament on March 3rd was hosted at UNC in the Carmichael arena. The roar of fans from all over the East coast filled the atmosphere. It would turn out to be a successful day for the Tar Heels as both Troy Heilmann and Ethan Ramos would become ACC champions. From the ACC eight members of the Tar Heel team would qualify for the national tournament, the most they have seen move on in 19 years.
Virginia Tech fans scream in excitement as the Hokies win a match against the Tar Heels during the ACC tournament. Throughout the day the Heels and Hokies would go head to head several times.
Daniel Chaid, 23, being taken down by his opponent still quilified for national's with his 3rd place final at the ACC Tournament. It would be his last time wrestling in Carmichael as a senior at UNC. "Usually I need to get my head in a right place to be able to compete at my best," said Chaid. "That's usually more difficult while overcoming injurys as they tend to weight negatively on my mind, so getting to a place where I believe in myself and trust my abilities is usually the most difficult thing for me to do."
Calluses begin to develop on Albert Rechenmacher's hands over time. While wrestling requires a high amount of physical strength, he reflects that the strength and techniques are only half the battle during a tournament. Rechenmacher said, "The mental game is the most important skill it’s taught me."
The atmosphere during practice for an upcoming tournament is lasor focused with a few short breaks for brief jokes in between heavy breaths. Chip Ness, red-shirted junior, said, "I am a very offense-minded wrestler so it's pretty easy to stay focused when you always have a task at hand." Many of the team members started wrestling as early as six and easily bond outside the practice room Devin Kane, sophomore on the team, explains. "The team dynamic is very good, were all close to each other and spend time together outside of the sport and I think after a successful year like this year it will only get better as we continue to improve," said Kane.
Nick Mosco, freshman, and Devin Kane, sophomore sitting down in exhaustion after a couple hours of practice. "For me wrestling is something that I can invest time and energy into, its something I strive to excel at and worth the sacrifices I make for the sport," Kane said. "Some of the biggest obstacles you face before competing are first off making weight and second off being disciplined and healthy enough to compete at a high level while staying up with schools and friends." making weight and second off being disciplined and healthy enough to compete at a high level while staying up with schools and friends."
Head coach, Coleman Scott, trains with the team even when it causes strain for himself. He not only instructs the team how to perform certrain techniques, but is wrestling right with them during practice. Scott will wrestle with several NCAA qualifiers on March 8th, the last practice before heading out to the tournament in Pittsburgh. Neil Erisman, assistant coach said that they are a young staff so wrestling with the guys is normal to show them technique.
Kennedy Monday, sophomore, sits with his father Kenny Monday as they reflect on how he performed during practice by watching videos of himself wrestling and talking through how he can improve. Kenny Monday is an Olympic gold medalist in 1988 in Seoul. "We changed our training before ACC’s, we shortened up our practices, cut down the number of consecutive days in a row we trained," Assistant Coach Neil Erisman said. "We focused more on the individuals competing then the team as a whole by refining a lot of their deficiencies and sharpened their strengths."
Daniel Chaid, senior, winning against the Pittsburgh player during the ACC Championship. Chaid has a tattoo on his arm of a samurai named Miyamoto Musashi. "The main back story of my tattoo is that my god father was a wrestler named Dave Schultz. Dave was an Olympic Champion wrestler who was murdered in 1996 by the heir to a chemical fortune John DuPont. After Daves murder, a wrestling club was formed in his honor by his wife Nancy. Dave looked at musashi while wrestling as a signicant role model and based some of his life and approach to wrestling off of his teachings. As a result of this the symbol for the wrestling club was the figure of Mushasi that I have tattooed on my arm. While I didn't personally know Dave, he died when I was 2, I grew up with his family Nancy and his two kids Danielle and Zander who are my non-blood related family. I spent much of my childhood traveling with the Dave Shultz wrestling club. That's essentially the basis for my tattoo."
Coleman Scott, head coach, and Neil Erisman, assistant coach calling out at Daniel Chaid during a match in the ACC Tournament. "Our guys don’t have to be motivated, we focus more on keeping them calm and focused," said Erisman. "We keep things light and help them focus on what they can control their attitude and effort throughout the tournament."
A referee holds up the hand of Chip Ness, redshirted junior, as he wins his first ever ACC Tournament match win. He started wrestling when he was seven from a flyer in his mailbox about youth wrestling. Ness earned All-American honors on day two of the NCAA Wrestling Championship. Before a match Ness tries to relax and zone in for around 20 minutes before he goes out. During this time he visualizes his game plan and performs his warm up routine. "Whenever I'm not confident during the time leading up to my match, I have to redirect my mindset into truly believing I can win any match I come across," Ness said. "And on top of that, my pre-match goal is to go into each match believing I will find a way to get my hand raised by the end of the 7 minutes."