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#3 PackWrestle storms back for 21-18 win over #7 Virginia Tech

Redshirt-freshman, Jarrett Trombley, flexing after his electrifying pinfall
Photo by Peyton Williams, NC State Wrestling

NC State (14-0, 4-0) completed the sweep of its three consecutive top-10 ACC opponents last night with a 21-18 victory over #7 Virginia Tech (11-2, 2-2). This marks the third year in a row that the Pack have taken care of the Hokies, and guarantees Popolizio’s team at least a share of the ACC dual championship. A win next week at Duke will lock up sole possession of the championship.

The dual started with a bang at 149, but not in the way of the home team. Bryce Andonian got the Hokies rolling when he pinned AJ Leitten in a cradle in the first period. From there NC State responded with three straight wins. Hayden Hidlay came out and controlled BC LaPrade to the tune of a 6-2 decision. At 165, Thomas Bullard returned after missing last week’s UNC dual. He was rewarded with a tough test in three-time All-American, and seventh-ranked David McFadden. Bullard controlled the pace of the match and was able to accrue enough riding time in the third period to effectively own a 2-1 lead going into the final thirty seconds. With the crowd behind him, Thomas held off McFadden’s late attempts and secured a huge win. This was not only massive for his eventual NCAA seeding, but it put the Pack back in the driver’s seat in the dual following the pin at 149. The second-dose of Bullard (Daniel) came out at 174 and put together a controlling 7-3 decision.

The marquee matchup at 184 certainly delivered in tactics and tension. The Hokies desperately needed to stop the Wolfpack run and Hunter Bolen delivered, as he was able to implement a perfect game plan for the 3-1 win over Trent Hidlay. Bolen was intent on slowing down Trent’s explosive attacks and did so by staying in great defensive position and using his size to limit Trent’s attacks from space. He picked his spots and one of his few offensive moves resulted in the deciding takedown in the first.

At 197, Virginia Tech delivered what appeared to be a knockout blow when Stanley Smeltzer pinned Tyrie Houghton in 18 seconds. This sucked the air out of Reynolds and had Pack fans starting to do the math in their heads. That math added up to a need for NC State to win at least 3 of the final 4 bouts - and one of them for bonus, as Virginia Tech held the tiebreaker with their two pins.

Deonte Wilson came out to a warm and appreciative welcome from the Reynolds crowd for his deeds last week. By the end of this one, Deonte would come up clutch again with a winning takedown in the final ten seconds to beat #20 John Borst. This will almost certainly propel him back into the FloWrestling rankings next week and secure him the 2-seed at the ACC tournament.

At 125, Jakob Camacho was able to figure out the puzzle of Joey Prata. Early in the bout, Camacho was living on Prata’s legs, but he was having a hard time finishing through Prata’s scrambles. This led to a third-period deficit that Camacho overcame with a late takedown and ride-out to earn the 5-4 victory.

With the dual tied up at 15-15, the Pack needed to keep things rolling at 133, but Jarrett Trombley faced a tough challenge in #25 Collin Gerardi. What Trombley did next was legendary. He came out and immediately began imposing his will on Gerardi by getting to his upper-body ties and snapping him down to the mat. Then out of nowhere, Trombley locked up a cradle and steamrolled the Hokie to his back for the pin. Reynolds exploded and Trombley partied all over the mat. See for yourself below.

Up six going into the final bout, the Pack trotted out Tariq Wilson to play closer, however things got dicey when Mitch Moore threw him to his back at the end of the first period. The entire crowd was squirming, trying whatever they could to help Tariq get out, but he was ultimately able to fight it off until the buzzer saved him. From there, both wrestlers played it pretty conservatively and the match ended 7-3 in favor of Moore. I think in a different circumstance, where Tariq isn’t wrestling with the dual result in mind, he takes this bout, but he’s a team guy and did his job.

#3 NC State 21-18 #7 Virginia Tech

  • 149: Bryce Andonian (VT) pin AJ Leitten (NCSU); 2:17 (6-0 VT)
  • 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) decision #12 BC LaPrade (VT); 6-2 (6-3 VT)
  • 165: #10 Thomas Bullard (NCSU) decision #7 David McFadden (VT); 2-1 (6-6)
  • 174: #15 Daniel Bullard (NCSU) decision Cody Hughes (VT); 7-3 (9-6 NCSU)
  • 184: #2 Hunter Bolen (VT) decision #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU); 3-1 (9-9)
  • 197: Stanley Smeltzer (VT) pin Tyrie Houghton (NCSU); 0:18 (15-9 VT)
  • 285: Deonte Wilson (NCSU) decision #20 John Borst (VT); 3-1 (15-12 VT)
  • 125: #16 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) decision #18 Joey Prata (VT); 5-4 (15-15)
  • 133: Jarrett Trombley (NCSU) pin #25 Collin Gerardi (VT); 0:44 (21-15 NCSU)
  • 141: #24 Mitch Moore (VT) decision #14 Tariq Wilson (NCSU); 7-3 (21-18 NCSU)

Another insane dual in Reynolds! That place is magic, and when top-10 wrestling duals go down, it gets loud! Unfortunately, that was the last one for this season. But luckily the final dual of the season is only a twenty minute drive to Cameron Indoor Stadium where the Pack will look to wrap up the ACC dual championship against Duke.