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Hidlay Brothers lead #4 PackWrestle past Pitt, 26-9

Andy Mead/ACC

NC State (11-1, 4-0) traveled up to Pitt for their penultimate weekend of dual action and took some punches from the Panthers (7-6, 1-3), but on the backs of two Hidlay tech falls, were able to pull away for the 26-9 victory. The first half of the lineup looked really sluggish to kick this thing off, but as we’ve highlighted so many times, you can always count on those Hidlay boys to come in and deliver.

The dual started at 125 where Jakob Camacho faced Gage Curry in a rematch from the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. This match looked eerily similar - the first period was closely-contested, and there was even a point after a Curry takedown where we were tied up at 4-4. But Camacho was able to distance himself in the 3rd period with a suck-back for 4 back points and push it to a 15-6 major decision. 133 & 141 were both snoozers, as all four wrestlers were really looking to get to their offense from counter-attacks. This resulted in a lot of waiting around. Unfortunately, these both went the way of Pitt and they took a brief 6-4 lead in the dual.

Tariq came out at 149 and did what he’s pretty much done all year: just enough to get the W. I’m still not sure if this is a consequence of him adjusting to the new weight or if he’s just coasting through the regular season like he has in the past, but he has not looked as dominant this season. And the numbers reflect that - this is his lowest bonus percentage (27%) since his true freshman year. Whatever you believe to be the case, we will get some real answers next weekend as he has #17 Zach Sherman and #5 Bryce Andonian on the menu. I just hope he’s able to go, he opened up a pretty nasty gash in a collision of heads with Mancini.

Next up, Ed Scott bounced back from his first loss of the season and took out a very tough Elijah Cleary, 6-2. He surrendered the first takedown, as he sometimes does, but was able to recover and scored six unanswered in dominant fashion. This was the perfect match-script we want to see Ed implementing against his tougher competition. He wasn’t hunting the big move, but rather slowly grinding down his opponent with his pace and pressure. Impressive response from the freshman after last week’s heartbreaker.

At 165, we saw maybe the match of the night. Bullard and Wentzel are familiar opponents, and each showed their dominance from the top position to control chunks of the match in what was otherwise a stalemate. After a 3-3 regulation, we went to the two-minute sudden victory period where the first point wins. Still nothing, so they moved to the 30-second tiebreaker periods where each guy gets choice. Thomas chose bottom to start the first tiebreaker and was unable to get away for an escape. In the second, Wentzel chose bottom and quickly got away for the 4-3 lead. At this point, Thomas basically had 25 seconds to get a tying or winning point, but was just unable to secure anything. Wentzel got his first win over Bullard, 4-3, and closed the team score to 10-9.

[insert Hidlays here]

This was the point in the dual, and really most duals, where we saw we would have the opportunity to widen the gap, and the Brothers of Destruction wasted no time doing just that. Hayden came out at 174 and proceeded to tech fall his opponent in the 1st period. You have no idea how difficult that is to do, but for Hayden it’s nothing. He has developed some very reliable tilts over the course of his career and he used those to rack up turn after turn on his Panther opposition. There are some real hammers at the top of 174, but Hayden’s dominance from the top position may just be the difference-maker in some of those tight matches at NCAAs. He has #9 Clay Lautt and #3 Mekhi Lewis next weekend.

At 184, Trent thoroughly dominated a tough Gregg Harvey, repeatedly taking him down until he met the 15-point mercy threshold late in the 3rd. Not as many turns for the Hoagie Boy, but you can see he’s working on it, and he is so good from his feet that he doesn’t really need a reliable turn right now. He has #10 Hunter Bolen and #18 Gavin Kane (who beat Bolen in OT last night) next week.

After the Hidlay clinic, the team score ballooned up to 20-9 and nearly out of reach for the Panthers. But Isaac Trumble would come in at 197 and lock-up the dual with his victory over #6 Nino Bonaccorsi. For the returning NCAA Finalist, this was déjà vu - he shot in early and often, but could not finish under Trumble’s crushing hips. In the 2nd, Isaac dominated from top, riding the entire period and racking up 2:00 of riding time. In the 3rd, Bonaccorsi cut him loose and decided to try and hunt a takedown. This period was basically one long scramble, with Nino shooting in on Trumble’s legs and just not having enough to finish. The escape and riding time point amounted to a 2-0 victory for the Pack freshman, and has once again alerted the country to his potential. He can literally beat anyone with his current skillset, and has, as evidenced by his wins over #17, #8, and now #6. If he develops a little more offense from his feet, including one reliable leg attack, his ceiling is incredibly high.

Tyrie Houghton closed out the dual at heavyweight with an impressive comeback, 9-4. He gave up an early takedown, but was commanding from there on using his quickness and pace against one of the bigger ACC heavyweights. I thought this might be a match he could trip-up on and open the door for Owen Trephan to slide in, but he passed the test with flying colors and looks like he may have locked-up the spot for the postseason.

#4 NC State 26-9 Pitt

  • 125: #14 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) major dec. #30 Gage Curry (Pitt); 15-6 (4-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #9 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) dec. #14 Kai Orine (NCSU); 4-1 (4-3 NCSU)
  • 141: #8 Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. #24 Ryan Jack (NCSU); 3-1 (4-6 Pitt)
  • 149: #3 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) dec. Dan Mancini (Pitt); 6-3 (7-6 NCSU)
  • 157: #11 Ed Scott (NCSU) dec. #19 Elijah Cleary (Pitt); 6-2 (10-6 NCSU)
  • 165: #16 Jake Wentzel (Pitt) dec. #22 Thomas Bullard (NCSU); 4-3 TB1 (10-9 NCSU)
  • 174: #4 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) tech fall Hunter Kernan (Pitt); 18-0 (15-9 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) tech fall Gregg Harvey (Pitt); 22-7 (20-9 NCSU)
  • 197: #16 Isaac Trumble (NCSU) dec. #6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt); 2-0 (23-9 NCSU)
  • 285: #26 Tyrie Houghton (NCSU) dec. Jacob Slinger (Pitt); 9-4 (26-9 NCSU)

Pitt is no slouch, and they were able to keep it close for a while, but we just have too much firepower up and down the lineup. Next weekend is where we’ll see our two biggest conference challenges in #21 UNC (Friday) and #7 Virginia Tech (Sunday). If you can make it to Reynolds for either or both, I highly recommend it. These are the best home environments every year and I expect nothing less this time around. I also reached out to the NC State ticket office and if you bought tickets to the original VT dual on January 21st and never ended up exchanging them, they will still be accepted on Sunday. If you don’t have tickets, now is your chance to grab them. I would not wait to purchase them at the door! Stay tuned for those previews, coming next week!