CHATTANOOGA --- Led by runner-up Joey Ward and fourth-place finisher Ethan Ramos, North Carolina finished ninth overall in the team competition at the 2017 Southern Scuffle, presented by Compound Clothing.
Ward beat Stanford's Joey McKenna, the nation's No. 2 141-pounder, in sudden victory to lock up a top-two finish before falling to No. 1 Dean Heil of Oklahoma State in the final. Ramos pinned top-seeded Casey Kent of Penn in the consolation semis and finished fourth at 174.
Ward and McKenna fought to a 1-1 draw through three periods before heading to overtime. In the dying moments of the first sudden death period, Ward scored a takedown and a four-point near fall to win 7-1. In the final at 141, Ward and Heil waged another extremely tight battle. Heil, the defending NCAA champ whose only loss in the last two seasons was to Ward, came out on top after a late scramble to win 3-1.
Ramos started Monday's action with a hard-fought 12-8 loss to OSU's Kyle Crutchmer, the No. 2 seed. The Tar Heel junior then bounced back with a first-period pin of Kent just 58 seconds into their consolation semifinal bout. Ramos dropped the third-place match 14-7 to fifth-seeded Ryan Preisch of Lehigh.
Chip Ness, competing unattached at the Scuffle, gave UNC a third placer with his seventh-place finish at 184. Ness beat seventh-seeded Dylan Gabel of Northern Colorado to take seventh.
The Tar Heels finished ninth in the team competition with 56 points. Oklahoma State grabbed the team title with 198 points while Missouri edged Lehigh for second.
Carolina returns to action Friday at the American Duals. The Tar Heels will take on Army West Point and Wyoming before facing the host Eagles.