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#3 PackWWWWWWWWrestle dunks all over #14 CaroLLLLLLLLina, 28-10

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Senior 141-pounder, Tariq Wilson
Peyton Williams/NCSU Athletics

Eight. That’s what was on the line Friday night. #3 NC State (5-0, 3-0) traveled to Chapel Hill last night looking to extend their winning streak over #14 North Carolina (2-1, 1-1) to eight straight. The Pack didn’t need last-match heroics from Deonte Wilson on this occasion, as they won seven of ten bouts, three for bonus points, to leave with the 28-10 obliteration of their rivals.

Things got started at 125 with #2 Jakob Camacho taking on freshman Julian Tagg. Camacho does not like the Tar Heels, and he channeled those feelings in his decimation of Tagg. Jakob was dominant throughout, but he particularly poured it on in the third period once he had worn the freshman down. Two sets of near-fall and several takedowns pushed this to a tech fall, and five huge team points to set the tone.

The Tar Heels would answer at 133 where #13 Jaime Hernandez squeaked out a 3-2 decision over true-freshman Ryan Jack. Jarrett Trombley did wrestle in the extra matches, so this must have been a coaches decision - whether Jack has won the spot or they just liked the matchup better is unclear, but 133 is still a question mark for the Pack moving forward.

Next was the marquee bout of the evening - a rematch of last year’s ACC finals with #11 Tariq Wilson taking on #10 Zach Sherman. Tariq came out quickly and got a takedown in the first minute, but from there pretty much shut it down. This shifted the momentum to Sherman as he was able to collect two takedowns of his own and a 1 point lead heading into the final 30 seconds of the contest. Luckily, Tariq remembered that his offensive repertoire is essentially unstoppable and fired off a blast double, put his face in Sherman’s chest, and drove him to his back for the takedown and two near-fall points. The Pack senior was able to ride out the rest of the match and get his revenge, 9-6.

The next two bouts showcased the two programs’ premier wrestlers. At 149, UNC’s #2 Austin O’Connor was able to get the major decision over Ed Scott. This has to be viewed as a win, as there was a point where O’Connor had Scott firmly planted on his back, but the freshman fought for the team and saved us two crucial team points by not giving up the pin. #2 Hayden Hidlay followed and raised O’Connor one team point by collecting the tech fall. HH gave up the first takedown, but re-grouped and proceeded to turn UNC’s Josh McClure repeatedly like a doorknob until he reached the fifteen point superiority threshold. But the five team points just wasn’t enough for Hayden’s bloodlust. This morning, following a pretty unwarranted cheap shot on Twitter, the Mug Dog decided to dunk on Olympic Gold Medalist and current head coach of the Tar Heel Wrestling Club, Kenny Monday.

At 165, #11 Thomas Bullard took on the aforementioned Monday’s son, #14 Kennedy, in what was one of the more competitive bouts of the evening. Bullard wrestled a smart match, he kept things close to the end and used his scrambling to wear Kennedy out. Going into the third, Thomas held a 1-0 lead and got to start on top of a clearly fatigued Monday. He proceeded to ride for 1:42 and looked to be on his way to a 2-0 victory. However, a challenge from the UNC bench was strangely confirmed by the official after a review for an “illegal hold”. Monday was awarded a point to tie the match at 1-1, and the clock was reset to the time of the infraction, 0:56. I’m not sure I can say I saw the infraction, but the challenge also accomplished two other things for Carolina: it granted Monday a much needed couple minutes to recover, and gave him nearly 45 more seconds to get the escape he would need to tie. Monday eventually did get that escape and was able to secure a last second takedown to win this match 4-2. A heartbreaker for Thomas, who would have collected his second ranked win in a row. But I think this will give him confidence in this matchup going forward - and I for one, can’t think of another match I’d rather see go down at ACCs.

Six matches down, each team winning three, but the Pack held a 13-10 lead thanks to Camacho & Hidlay’s tech falls. This was a highlight of the preview - if we could get to 174 tied or with the lead, I felt the back-half of our lineup would carry us through. That is exactly what happened, as NC State would go on to win the remaining four matches.

At 174, #15 Daniel Bullard exposed Devin Kane’s over-ranking at #8. Bullard dominated more than the 7-4 final score indicated - Kane could not figure out how to escape from Daniel’s tough ride, which resulted in an accumulation of over 3 minutes of riding time. And then #3 Trent Hidlay followed that up with another dominant showing over #15 Clay Lautt, 5-1. This could have been a bonus point victory as well, but Lautt refused to open up and was clearly trying to mitigate the damage on the scoreboard rather than chase a victory. In a non-dual setting, I would expect Trent to blow this one open.

With the 19-10 lead, the star of last week’s dual, #13 Isaac Trumble came to the mat looking to ice it against Carolina’s Max Shaw. Shaw looked pretty good, capturing the first two takedowns on Trumble and getting out to a 4-2 lead in the second period. That’s when Isaac did what he does. He may not have that go-to takedown quite yet, but he has many ways to beat you and throwing you to your back is one. Trumble dug a nice over-under position, locked around the body, and drove Shaw to his back for the pin (and nip slip). Those aren’t kept on the score sheet, but pins are, and that makes four on the season for the freshman. He continues to impress.

Another feather in his cap is that Trumble’s victim last week, Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt actually secured a win over #2 Aiello last night. This makes Isaac’s win look all the more impressive.

At heavyweight, Deonte continued to cook. He used his secret recipe of high pace and tough rides to wilt #22 Gunning in the third period. He didn’t need to play hero this season, but he still showcased why he’s the best heavyweight in the ACC with another ranked win, 6-1.

#3 NC State 28-10 #14 UNC

  • 125: #2 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) tech fall Julian Tagg (UNC); 21-4 (5-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #12 Jaime Hernandez (UNC) dec. Ryan Jack (NCSU); 3-2 (5-3 NCSU)
  • 141: #11 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) dec. #10 Zach Sherman (UNC); 9-6 (8-3 NCSU)
  • 149: #2 Austin O’Connor (UNC) major dec. Ed Scott (NCSU); 11-3 (8-7 NCSU)
  • 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) tech fall Josh McClure (UNC); 20-5 (13-7 NCSU)
  • 165: #14 Kennedy Monday (UNC) dec. #11 Thomas Bullard (NCSU); 4-2 (13-10 NCSU)
  • 174: #15 Daniel Bullard (NCSU) dec. #8 Devin Kane (UNC); 7-4 (16-10 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) dec. #15 Clay Lautt (UNC); 5-1 (19-10 NCSU)
  • 197: #13 Isaac Trumble (NCSU) pin Max Shaw (UNC); 4:59 (25-10 NCSU)
  • 285: #17 Deonte Wilson (NCSU) dec. #22 Andrew Gunning (UNC); 6-1 (28-10 NCSU)

The Pack put it on their cross-state rivals. There was never any doubt for Popolizio and the boys and that’s the way we like it!

We pointed out toss-up matches at 133, 141, 165, 174, & 285 and thought for Carolina to pull this upset they would need four of those - they only got two. And NC State won the bonus point battle as well. This was the perfect showing for the Pack, on the road against a very good team. That makes us 2-for-2 in the three week stretch that includes consecutive top-15 ACC opponents. We close out that run next Friday with probably the biggest test, at #8 Virginia Tech. This dual will have all eyes on it from across the wrestling world with the ACC dual title on the line. Stay tuned for the preview, coming next week.