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#4 PackWrestle win ACC opener at Virginia, 23-9

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Junior heavyweight, Deonte Wilson
Photo by Carie Dernlan @ Dec 22 NLWC Event

NC State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) traveled up to Charlottesville on Friday evening to kick-off their ACC schedule against the Virginia Cavaliers (1-1, 0-1). The Pack won seven of ten bouts, two for bonus points, which amounted to a 23-9 victory. And if you’re keeping track at home, that extends our nation-leading dual winning streak to 20.

The dual once again started at 125 pounds, and once again Jakob Camacho got us out to an early lead - this time to the tune of a 16-7 major decision. He really looks dialed in this season. I can’t wait to see how he stacks up against elite competition, but he’s a popular pick to make the NCAA finals opposite Iowa’s Spencer Lee in St. Louis.

At 133, a lineup change took away our opportunity to see one of the Key Matchups from the preview. True freshman, Ryan Jack, who came into the weekend with a 5-0 record, got the nod against #15 Louie Hayes rather than typical Pack starter, Jarrett Trombley. There had been talk of a wrestle-off between the two, but it’s unclear if that ever took place and the freshman won, or if this was just a strategic substitution by the staff. Either way, Jack put up a good fight, but the savvy college veteran Hayes was just a little too much. I would have been curious to see Trombley get a shot at the rubber-match with Hayes, as I think he matches up a little better than a true freshman. Regardless, this shows that we have options at this weight, so we’ll have to wait and see who the staff moves forward with in the lineup.

Tariq followed up at 141 by gutting out a tough 8-6 decision over Brian Courtney. Then at 149, stud freshman Ed Scott absolutely bulldozed the 25th-ranked Denton Spencer, posting a dominant 14-1 major decision. Scott completely avoided Spencer’s top game and ended up showing off his own, racking up several sets of near fall points in the process. This was a mighty impressive performance that could get him some attention in the national rankings this coming week.

Hayden Hidlay made it three in a row for the Pack with his 6-3 decision victory at 157, which pushed the team score to 14-3 in our favor. Hayden struggled a little bit with McCoy’s length and defensive tactics, which cost us what I figured would be a bonus point victory, but in hindsight the bonus point would be unneeded.

At 165, Thomas Bullard’s struggles continued, as he dropped a 4-3 decision and moves to 1-2 on the season. This is a major concern, and I hope he gets it turned around soon, because at this rate he could be in jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament altogether. And without points from the Bullards in St. Louis, we will struggle to contend for a team trophy. Luckily, Daniel Bullard reversed his fortunes and picked up a victory at 174, albeit not super impressively. The twins are starting to see opponents who are prepared for their scrambly style, so they need to find more ways to score. If they can’t develop ways to create their own offense from the feet, placing at NCAAs is going to be a tough proposition.

The next bout of the evening saw the welcome return of a familiar face to the lineup. After an emergency appendectomy in mid-December, Trent Hidlay finally found himself healthy enough to suit back up. It was clear that he isn’t yet back to 100% wrestling shape, but Trent is so good that 50% would have been enough. He dominated with over 3 minutes of riding time and secured a 4-0 win.

The Pack split the two remaining bouts - losing at 197 but winning 285. However, 197 felt like a moral victory of sorts. Nick Reenan wrestled the #2 197-pounder to a 2-0 decision and looked good doing it. Going into the 3rd period, Reenan found himself down just 1-0 and chose the bottom position to start. Unfortunately, his issues from this position continue, as he was unable to escape. But in hindsight, if Nick takes neutral to start the 3rd, he’s got a chance to win this one with a takedown. Most encouraging of all was the fight he showed throughout the match - I really like what this could do for his confidence going forward.

At 285, Deonte defeated Quinn Miller for a third time dating back to last season. He is establishing himself as the guy to beat at this weight in the ACC.

#4 NC State 23-9 Virginia

  • 125: #3 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) major dec. Patrick McCormick (UVA); 16-7 (4-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #15 Louie Hayes (UVA) dec. Ryan Jack (NCSU); 11-6 (4-3 NCSU)
  • 141: #10 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) dec. #24 Brian Courtney (UVA); 8-6 (7-3 NCSU)
  • 149: Ed Scott (NCSU) major dec. #25 Denton Spencer (UVA); 14-1 (11-3 NCSU)
  • 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) dec. #20 Justin McCoy (UVA); 6-3 (14-3 NCSU)
  • 165: #14 Jake Keating (UVA) dec. #11 Thomas Bullard (NCSU); 4-3 (14-6 NCSU)
  • 174: #14 Daniel Bullard (NCSU) dec. Victor Marcelli (UVA); 3-1 (17-6 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) dec. Michael Battista (UVA); 4-0 (20-6 NCSU)
  • 197: #2 Jay Aiello (UVA) dec. Nick Reenan (NCSU); 2-0 (20-9 NCSU)
  • 285: #16 Deonte Wilson (NCSU) dec. #18 Quinn Miller (UVA); 2-0 (23-9 NCSU)

This could have been a dangerous dual meet, but many of the Pack’s guys stepped up to take care of business. It’s great to have Trent Hidlay back to fortify our lineup, and 197 does not look to be the hole it was last year. Once the Bullards get things figured out - and I’m confident they will - this team will be formidable top-to-bottom.

Next up is a return to Reynolds to host the Pitt Panthers on Friday. Another week, another challenge. Keep your eyes peeled for that preview mid-week.