For the third straight year, the NC State wrestling team (15-0, 5-0) has won the ACC Dual Championship. It was all but official after last week’s victory over #7 Virginia Tech, but with their 34-9 steamrolling of Duke last night, the Pack ensured that they claimed sole ownership of the trophy this season. This was not the only achievement from last night however. With the win, NC State capped off its first undefeated season in program history, and will surely finish in the top-3 of the national dual rankings.
The dual began with a forfeit for Jakob Camacho at 125. Jarrett Trombley kicked off the action with a dominant major decision at 133, and Tariq Wilson followed with a forfeit of his own at 141. Barely fifteen minutes into the dual, and NC State was sitting on a 16-0 lead.
AJ Leitten got back on track after last week’s disappointing performance, by earning a 14-0 major decision and Hayden Hidlay kept it rolling with a first period pin at 157.
At 165 & 174, Popolizio decided to sit the Bullard twins in favor of Matt Fields and Tyler Barnes. Both of the Pack reserves were wrestling up from their natural weight class, and it proved to be a factor. Duke took both of these matches to bring the team score back to 26-6.
However, Trent Hidlay put a stop to that run immediately. He cruised to a 17-2 technical fall victory and raised the roof for the strong contingent of Pack supporters at Cameron Indoor. I think it was good for him to get back in the win column in such a dominant fashion after being stymied by Hunter Bolen last week. Sometimes it’s good just to hit the reset button after a frustrating match. Trent and Hayden look happy with their work here.
At 197 we once again saw Tyrie Houghton take the mat for the Wolfpack, where he fell in a narrow 7-6 decision. I hope this means what I think it does - that Nick Reenan will not finish out the year in favor of getting a head-start on his recovery for next season. Neither guy looks to be in contention for big points at ACCs or NCAAs, so sitting Reenan for next year is the best course of action in my book.
To put a bow on the regular season, Popolizio sent out Deonte Wilson, who responded as he usually does: by pushing the pace. Wilson was the aggressor for pretty much the entire match and earned several stall calls to open up a lead in the second period that he would never let go. He won the bout 8-1 and wrapped up the 2-seed at the ACC tournament in the process.
#3 NC State 34-9 Duke
- 125: #15 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) forfeit (6-0 NCSU)
- 133: #23 Jarrett Trombley (NCSU) major dec. Harrison Campbell (Duke); 17-4 (10-0 NCSU)
- 141: #13 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) forfeit (16-0 NCSU)
- 149: A.J. Leitten (NCSU) major dec. Wade Unger (Duke); 14-0 (20-0 NCSU)
- 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) pin Eric Carter (Duke); 1:32 (26-0 NCSU)
- 165: Benjamin Anderson (Duke) dec. Matt Fields (NCSU); 7-1 (26-3 NCSU)
- 174: Mason Eaglin (Duke) dec. Tyler Barnes (NCSU); 6-2 (26-6 NCSU)
- 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) tech fall Kai Blake (Duke); 17-2 (31-6 NCSU)
- 197: Vincent Baker (Duke) dec. Tyrie Houghton (NCSU); 7-6 (31-9 NCSU)
- 285: #24 Deonte Wilson (NCSU) dec. Jonah Niesenbaum (Duke); 8-1 (34-9 NCSU)
What a great year it has been for a team that graduates zero starters. Yes, that’s right, this entire team will be back next season. Add in a healthy Nick Reenan, and this looks like a dangerous squad. However, they’re not done yet. The regular season is only a sliver of the college wrestling campaign. The postseason is what it’s all about, and that starts in two weeks in Pittsburgh where the ACC Championships will be held. Conference tournament brackets and NCAA tournament allocations should be coming out shortly, so stay tuned for those!