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#3 PackWrestle: New Rankings & Virginia Tech Preview

Sophomore 133-pounder, Jarrett Trombley
Peyton Williams/NCSU Athletics

New Rankings

NC State (5-0, 3-0) continues to rack up an impressive resume - 79 straight polls in the top-10, longest dual win streak in the nation (22), and two top-15 blowouts. This kept the Pack at #3 in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll.

Following last weekend’s busy college wrestling schedule, FloWrestling has updated their individual rankings. See where our guys check-in below:

  • 125 - Camacho #2 (previous: 2)
  • 133 - Trombley #13 (13)
  • 141 - T. Wilson #10 (11)
  • 157 - H. Hidlay #2 (2)
  • 165 - T. Bullard #13 (11)
  • 174 - D. Bullard #13 (15)
  • 184 - T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197 - Trumble #5 (13)
  • 285 - D. Wilson #17 (17)

Tariq trades spots with Sherman of UNC after their meeting last week. Thomas continues to wrestle ranked guys and has a win over #9 Wentzel, so he avoids falling too far after losing to Monday. The ACC is stacked at this weight. Daniel’s upward movement is limited due to the previously 8th-ranked Kane going 0-2 last weekend, with a loss to unranked Dakota Howard of VT. The biggest mover is once again Isaac Trumble, who is helped by Bonaccorsi’s win over Aiello.

Virginia Tech Dual

How to Watch: ACC Network

Wrestling Rules & Scoring

The ACC keeps getting stronger, with five of six teams ranked in the top-20 this week. And this week, the Pack will take on the strongest test the conference has to offer them: #8 Virginia Tech (7-0, 3-0). Carolina & Pitt have both elevated their programs in recent years, but since Popolizio arrived in Raleigh, this has been the matchup that always seems to decide the ACC Dual Championship. And that will be on the line again this Friday.

The Hokies are a top-10 program year-in, year-out, and this season is no different as Tony Robie has assembled another formidable lineup. They have six ranked guys, four of them in the top-10 of their respective weight classes. The scariest part of this dual from an NC State perspective is that Virginia Tech doesn’t have the top-to-bottom quality that the Pack does, but the strength of their lineup aligns with the strengths of ours. We can usually count on wins at 125, 165, & 184, but it is very possible we could lose all of those weights in this dual. Therefore, it will be very important that we win the bonus point battle. In last year’s meeting we won six of ten bouts, but surrendered two pins and that nearly cost us. We simply cannot have that happen again if we expect to win this dual. See below for projected lineups and my predictions:

  • 125: #2 Jakob Camacho vs. #10 Sam Latona (Camacho decision; 3-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #13 Jarrett Trombley or Ryan Jack vs. #7 Korbin Myers (Myers decision; 3-3)
  • 141: #10 Tariq Wilson vs. Sam Hillegas (Wilson decision; 6-3 NCSU)
  • 149: Ed Scott vs. #16 Bryce Andonian (Andonian decision; 6-6)
  • 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay vs. Connor Brady (Hidlay major; 10-6 NCSU)
  • 165: #13 Thomas Bullard vs. #1 Mekhi Lewis (Lewis decision; 10-9 NCSU)
  • 174: #15 Daniel Bullard vs. Dakota Howard (Bullard decision; 13-9 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay vs. #2 Hunter Bolen (Hidlay decision; 16-9 NCSU)
  • 197: #5 Isaac Trumble or Nick Reenan vs. Andy Smith (Trumble decision; 19-9 NCSU)
  • 285: #17 Deonte Wilson vs. #19 John Borst or Hunter Catka (Wilson decision 22-9 NCSU)

VT has bonus potential at 133 & 149 and could easily swing 125 & 184. Their best path to victory is to win 125, 133, 149, 165, 184, & 285. But if NC State takes care of business at the weights they are favored this should lead to a victory.

Key Matchups

#2 Jakob Camacho vs. #10 Sam Latona

If it weren’t for the Hidlay-Bolen rivalry being one of the best in the country, this would be the marquee matchup of the dual. In my opinion, these are the two best guys at this weight not named Spencer Lee, and I would bet a lot of money that it’s one of these two opposite the Hawkeye in the NCAA Finals at the end of the year. Latona may be ranked lower, but he is probably the favorite in this match after beating Camacho at the Southern Scuffle last year and a head-to-head victory in freestyle this summer. Latona has a lot of length for this weight class and that has given Jakob some problems, but the young Pack sophomore seems to be hitting a whole new level lately. He also seemed to be figuring Latona out toward the end of their meeting at Senior Nationals, so I’ve got Camacho in this one.

#13 Thomas Bullard vs. #1 Mekhi Lewis

It doesn’t get any easier for Thomas, who has had probably the toughest schedule in the country to this point. Now he gets returning NCAA Champ, Mekhi Lewis. Lewis is a physical specimen who has elite talent from neutral. If Bullard is going to pull this upset, he needs to wrestle a similar match to last week against Kennedy Monday: make Lewis work hard to finish takedowns, push the pace, and keep things close going into the third. But this isn’t news to Thomas, these two have met three times with the Hokie winning all three but each getting closer than the last. Their last meeting was in the 2019 ACC finals, where Bullard wrestled a great match, but fell just short. If he can replicate that on Friday, he’ll have a chance to notch the upset. Even if he doesn’t, I can’t see any bonus points here for the Hokies.

#3 Trent Hidlay vs. #2 Hunter Bolen

This is the matchup we’ve all been waiting for, and one we saw take place twice last year. Bolen won razor-close decisions in the dual and again in the ACC finals, but that doesn’t change my opinion that this is a 50-50 coin toss. The Hokie found success last year by shutting down Trent’s patented underhook on the right side. Since then, it’s been apparent that Hidlay needed to diversify his offense in order to have success against the top guys, and that is exactly what he’s done. He showed it all throughout the offseason at Senior Nationals, the RTC Cup, and even now in the beginning of the college season. This one will be close, but with his new and improved offensive repertoire, I think the Hoagie Boy will be raising the roof by the end of this one.

They weren’t highlighted above, but 149 & 285 are also very important for the final outcome of this dual. Ed Scott has the ability to pull this upset, but Andonian is a dangerous, big-move guy. At the very least we need the freshman to avoid giving up bonus points like we did last year. And at heavyweight, the Hokies have two good options they can throw out there, though I do believe it will be Borst. I have Deonte favored, but Borst is his biggest obstacle to an ACC title this season, it wouldn’t be shocking for VT to pull the upset there.

This is going to be an amazing dual, one that NC State will be favored in. Virginia Tech will need several things to fall into place to come out ahead, but I’m still nervous. When these two teams get together, the only thing you can count on is that nothing will go as expected. Tune in Friday at 8PM to see a battle of the ACC’s elite. Go Pack!