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#5 PackWrestle: New Rankings & West Virginia Preview

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NCAA Wrestling: NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
165-pound senior, Thomas Bullard taking on #1 seed Alex Marinelli at the 2021 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The college wrestling season is in its third week of action, the first two of which, NC State spent at open tournaments to get some matches in. But this weekend really marks the beginning of the Pack’s season. Coach Popolizio sent mainly reserves to The Citadel Open two weeks ago, and followed it up with about 90% of the roster competing at last weekend’s Wolfpack Open. However, there were some glaring omissions from both of those groups of competitors. Tariq Wilson & the Hidlay brothers are still yet to take the mat so far this season, but I expect that will change this weekend when we host West Virginia for our first dual of the year. There is a reason we are ranked #5 in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll - we have a lineup stacked with hammers, and I suspect they will all get rolled out on Sunday.

New Rankings

Rankings are going to be a bit of an adventure for this year’s team. It has been stated time and time again by Coach Pop that some of our more veteran guys will be in and out of the lineup throughout the season, likely reserving themselves for the bigger duals and the postseason. I’ll be curious to see how ranking outlets treat this approach. In addition, it looks like we’re going to be having a couple of roster battles going well into the season (133 & heavyweight), so we may see one guy ranked one week, and another the next. We’ve already seen this at heavyweight, where Deonte Wilson was ranked in the preseason poll, but they now have Owen Trephan since he has beaten Deonte twice already this young season.

See where our guys check-in below in the latest FloWrestling rankings:

  • 125 - Camacho #10 (previous: 10)
  • 133 - Trombley #15 (15)
  • 149 - T. Wilson #2 (2)
  • 165 - Bullard #11 (11)
  • 174 - H. Hidlay #4 (4)
  • 184 - T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197 - Trumble #19 (18)
  • 285 - Trephan HM (HM)

Once they can get some more matches in and begin to build their resumes, I do expect Ryan Jack (141) & Ed Scott (157) to start breaking into these rankings in the high teens - lower twenties range. Still, that’s a pretty strong looking team.

West Virginia Dual

How to Watch: ACC Network Extra

Wrestling Rules & Scoring

This marks the fourth season of the West Virginia rebuild under Tim Flynn, who had a long and successful tenure at Edinboro prior to making the jump to Morgantown. They finished last season with their first winning record since 2014 and placed 31st at the NCAA Tournament. Flynn still has a long ways to go, but he certainly has some nice pieces in place to build off of. They return 2021 All-American, Killian Cardinale at 125, who transferred to West Virginia after Old Dominion shamefully dropped their wrestling program in 2020. In fact, it was Cardinale who defeated our very own Jakob Camacho in the Blood Round to prevent Jakob from reaching the podium. I sure hope both of these guys take the mat on Sunday.

With that said, let’s take a look at my projected lineups and predictions below:

  • 125: #10 Jakob Camacho vs. #9 Killian Cardinale (Camacho decision; 3-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #15 Jarrett Trombley or Kai Orine vs. Garett Lautzenheiser (Orine decision; 6-0 NCSU)
  • 141: Ryan Jack vs. Lucas Seibert (Jack tech fall; 11-0 NCSU)
  • 149: #2 Tariq Wilson vs. Jeffrey Boyd (Wilson major decision; 15-0 NCSU)
  • 157: Ed Scott vs. Alex Hornfeck (Scott decision; 18-0 NCSU)
  • 165: #11 Thomas Bullard vs. #14 Peyton Hall (Bullard decision; 21-0 NCSU)
  • 174: #4 Hayden Hidlay vs. Scott Joll (Hidlay pin; 27-0 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay vs. Anthony Carman (Hidlay major decision; 31-0 NCSU)
  • 197: #19 Isaac Trumble vs. Jackson Moomau (Trumble major decision; 35-0 NCSU)
  • 285: HM Owen Trephan or Deonte Wilson vs. HM Michael Wolfgram (Trephan decision; 38-0 NCSU)

There will be a couple close matches in this dual, but on the whole, NC State should have absolutely no problems here.

Key Matchups

#10 Jakob Camacho vs. #9 Killian Cardinale

This is the marquee matchup of the afternoon, I just hope neither of these guys sits out. Cardinale is 2-0 against Jakob all-time - the first win coming two years ago in Reynolds when Cardinale was still a member of visiting Old Dominion, and again in last year’s Blood Round, as discussed above. I’m sure Camacho has this one circled, so if one of these guys were to skip the dual, my money would be on the Mountaineer. But if they do both take the mat, Camacho needs to attack early and often. Cardinale is a strong dude, and I think it gave Jakob issues late in both of their previous meetings. Get out to an early lead and make Cardinale chase.

#11 Thomas Bullard vs. #14 Peyton Hall

Peyton Hall had a phenomenal true-freshman campaign last season, falling one win shy of All-American honors. He entered the NCAA Tournament as the #21 seed, but proceeded to upset several guys including Virginia’s Jake Keating & UNC’s Kennedy Monday en route to his Blood Round finish. This is the perfect opponent for Thomas to kickstart his final season. He has begun the season 5-0, with all bonus-point wins, but has yet to face an opponent of Hall’s caliber. This would be an amazing tone-setting victory for Thomas and could boost his confidence for what promises to be a tough journey to the podium at 165. This bout will have little impact on the ultimate result of the dual, but it could come in handy to have a win like this come time for seeding the NCAA Tournament.

Action starts at 1PM on Sunday in Reynolds Coliseum. Be sure to listen to Pop’s preview of the dual on the car ride over. Go Pack!