GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor and Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi, who each posted unbeaten seasons and claimed NCAA individual titles, have been selected as the 2022-23 Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Wrestlers of the Year by the league’s head coaches.
Virginia Tech’s Caleb Henson, who won a conference title and earned All-America honors at 149 pounds, was voted the ACC Freshman of the Year. The Hokies also picked up the 2022-23 ACC Wrestling Coach of the Year award, as Tony Robie was recognized for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in seven seasons.
O’Connor, a grad student from Lockport, Illinois, outlasted Penn State’s second-seeded Levi Haines for a 6-2 victory in the 157 pounds two weeks after claiming the ACC Championship gold medal. O’Connor secured his second NCAA wrestling title after first winning at 149 pounds in St. Louis in 2021.
Bonaccorsi, a redshirt senior from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan for the gold medal at 197. Bonaccorsi, who also won the ACC Championship in his weight class, became the Panthers’ first NCAA champion since current head coach Keith Gavin won at 174 pounds in 2008.
ACC wrestlers have now won 22 all-time individual NCAA titles. This marks the first year the conference has had multiple national champions in the same year since 1994 when Clemson’s Sam Henson won at 118 pounds and North Carolina’s TJ Jaworsky won at 134.
O'Connor (23-0) became the program's first five-time All-America honoree, the Tar Heels have posted multiple All-America wrestlers for five-straight years, and the National Finals has seen a UNC wrestler compete in the finals the past three seasons.
Bonaccorsi became Pitt's 17th national champion – and the heaviest in program history at 197 pounds. He is also the sixth Pitt wrestler to post a perfect season, unbeaten and untied, with a 21-0 record.
O’Connor and Bonaccorsi both won national championships as No. 1 seeds and led 12 ACC wrestlers who clinched All-America honors.
O’Connor becomes the seventh student-athlete to be named ACC Wrestler of the Year multiple times, joining NC State’s Sylvester Terkay (1991-93), North Carolina’s Evan Sola (2003 and 2005), NC State’s Darrion Caldwell (2007 and 2009), Maryland’s Hudson Taylor (2008 and 2010), NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski (2014-16) and Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis (2019 and 2022).
Henson is the third true freshman All-American in Virginia Tech wrestling history, joining Joey Dance (2014, 125-pounds, fourth place) and David McFadden (2016, 165-pounds, sixth place).
A native of Cartersville, Georgia, Henson defeated Max Murin of Iowa via a 12-3 major decision in the fifth-place bout at NCAAs to cap an Ironman backside performance after a Round of 16 defeat to win six of eight bouts – including wins over two past All-Americans – to find the podium in his first postseason appearance.
Henson was selected as the ACC Wrestler of the Week three times during the regular season.
Under Robie’s watch, Virginia Tech placed a wrestler in all 10 weight classes at the NCAA Championships and led all ACC teams with a ninth-place team finish. Henson was one of a league-high five Hokies who took home All-America honors.
The Hokies shared the ACC Regular Season Dual Meet Championship and placed second in the team scoring at the ACC Wrestling Championships on March 5. Henson (149) and Lewis (174) won conference titles and five Virginia Tech wrestlers were All-ACC.
Robie was previously voted the ACC Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2017, 2019 and 2022.