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Virginia Head Coach Steve Garland

“It was just about a perfect day. I’m just trying not to cry right now. It was 1977 the last time we won it and it has been a long time coming. There is so much work that goes into it. To see all of our guys hugging and crying it means the world to me.

“The last time we won a title was in 1977, the year I was born. I told the guys I have been trying to hold back the tears. This just didn’t start in 2006 when I was hired at Virginia. I was a wrestling student-athlete at Virginia in 1996. It has been such a long time coming. We’ve been close so many times but at the same time it felt so far away because we could not pull it off.

“The way we did it today and the dramatic fashion we did it in, I cannot find the words to explain it.

“You know you can do it and you put the work in, but at the end of the day, this tournament is crazy. The last two years we just missed the title by two points. We finally pulled it off. Sure, you come here and think you are going to win it, but until you do it, you just cannot imagine the emotion of pulling it off. Seeing the wrestlers hugging each other after Mike had won, that was a special moment.”

On the team’s depth
“That’s everything. The last two years we have been very close to leading going into finals because we had guys in the top four. Our goal today, and it was a big goal, was to have 10 guys get in the finals. We darn near pulled it off. Some guys did some phenomenal things. You have to have a team effort to win a championship and we got one today.

“He (Salopek) knows that was his best move and everybody in the gym knew it was coming. We’ve been drilling a lot with him and he found a way to counter it. The fact was he was able to do it in dramatic fashion, with 10 seconds to go, come on, it can’t get any better than that. It was awesome.

Mike Salopek
“That was probably the 15 craziest seconds in my wrestling career. I’ve wrestled him a few other times and he went for a move (inside trip) from a few other times we have wrestled. I kind of did the same thing at the Southern Scuffle tournament where I got a takedown out of it. He got me with it at the Virginia Duals. I had a feeling it was coming and I was waiting for it and ready for it.”

On the pressure to get a win
“The coaches were keeping the importance of the match from me. I thought that Henrich’s win did it for us. After I was done I saw how everybody was pumped and jumping around and then I knew we had won the title.”

On the championship
“It’s a great thing for the program. We’ve been a team on the rise for the past few years and tonight we were able to take that step to the next level”

Chris Henrich
On having to win big at the end
“I had a feeling it might come down to this from the beginning of the day. I was excited to be in this position. To be honest, I haven’t been in a high-pressure situation like that where not only did it come down to me winning, but it came down to me getting as many bonus points as possible. I was excited about it. The game plan was to get a pin and that’s not how it happened. Coach Clemsen did a good job of telling me what I needed to do.”

On the team title

“It is 100 times better than winning an individual championship right now. To be honest, going into the tournament I would not have thought that, but to watch Salopek win that final match, it was just amazing to be a part of it all.

“We have been the kind of team that has been solid. Today we were finally able to put it all together.”

Brent Jones
“It is unbelievable. I didn’t wrestle like I wanted to today, but our team had a total collective effort and it makes everything so much better. Five years, to finally get this title is very emotional. All the hard work we’ve put into it, it is a great way to cap it all off.

“I’ve been around this program for a while and to see where this program has come and to be a part of bringing home an ACC title is really special. It is something you’ll never forget and something you will always be a part of. It feels really good to leave your mark on history.”

Ross Gitomer
“I am so happy for every single guy on our team and our coaches. I was wrestling at this thing four years ago and if you told me we were going to win an ACC title I would have told you that you were crazy.

“I’ve never been around such a tight knit group. We’re so united as one and so dedicated to it. It is like one big family.”

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