After a long and painful hiatus, NC State (10-1, 3-0) finally got some action at home against a conference opponent from Virginia. The Cavaliers (3-5, 0-3) were outmatched and got thoroughly dominated on Friday night, but you have to give them credit for showing up. It’s more than can be said about some others...
The Pack won 9 of 10 bouts, with three via bonus points, and left no doubt. The dual started at 125 pounds, where Jakob Camacho earned a 12-3 major decision. Jakob marched McCormick around the mat early on, but it didn’t translate to a significant lead until later in the match where you could see the Cavalier starting to wear down. The Pack sophomore poured it on in the 3rd to widen the gap and secure that precious bonus point.
We saw our first Key Matchup next at 133, and boy was it a good one. You could tell right away that Orine had the skill advantage over #22 Courtney, the only question was whether or not his gas tank would hold out against a kid whose conditioning is his biggest weapon. Kai was in deep on several attacks but could only parlay that into a 3-1 lead midway through the 2nd period. At this point, Orine began to slow down and things looked grim when Courtney took the 4-3 lead early in the 3rd. But that is right where the fun began - Orine hit a huge six-point move, taking Courtney down straight to his back and was able to close it out from there for the 10-5 victory.
This is a huge win for Orine, who has some major ACC tests in his near future. Courtney is a real pain in the butt to wrestle because he just keeps coming forward, but Kai was able to show his toughness. And that’s just what he’ll need with his stretch of #7 Phillippi, #23 Heilmann, and #5 Korbin Myers in the coming weeks.
Ryan Jack and Tariq Wilson took care of business in the next two bouts, both winning by decision to push the team score to 13-0. At 157, we saw Ed Scott take his first real loss of the season. His opponent, Jake Keating, is down from 165 where he was an ACC Finalist last year, so he’s no slouch. Ed struggled to open him up early on but with about 1:30 remaining in the 2nd period, he found a cradle and locked it up. Now contrary to what you’d think, it was all downhill from there. Yes, Ed secured six points (2 for the takedown, 4 for near-fall) to take a pretty commanding lead, but he gassed himself out chasing the pin. There were times where he looked close to getting the call, but Keating had his arm through in a way that makes it very tough to finish. And holding a cradle for a minute and a half is maybe the most exhausting thing you can do in a wrestling match aside from fighting off an “Ed-lock”. In a perfect world, Ed collects his set of 4 back points and releases the hold to settle back in on top with a four point lead and plenty left in the tank to close out the match. But that’s not who Ed Scott is, and that’s why we love him. When he has a chance to finish a match, he jumps on it like a junkyard dog. Unfortunately, in this instance it left him completely spent with a whole period to go and just a two point lead. Recognizing this, Keating pushed the pace in the 3rd and was able to secure three takedowns for the 11-10 win.
This was the perfect match script for the Cavalier, and it’s important to say that I think he is much better than his #29 ranking. But I’ve still got Ed in any future matchups. This is just another growing pain for him and he will be back better because of it.
At 165, Thomas Bullard earned a huge win over previously undefeated #17 Justin McCoy. It was such a vintage Bullard match - McCoy was unable to figure out how to finish and Thomas came out on top of the most important scramble of the match for a 4-1 win. This gives the Pack senior the inside track to the #1 seed at ACCs. He has two-time defending ACC Champ Jake Wentzel next week, but has never lost to him in his career. We could be seeing the beginning of the Bullard turnaround.
Hayden Hidlay was honored before the dual with a championship belt for his 100th win last week, and he celebrated the occasion with a 1st period pin.
Hayden is just so dominant and I cannot wait to see how he matches up against the top-3 of this weight class. He’ll have #3 Mekhi in two weeks! Younger brother Trent absolutely bullied his opponent at 184 and cruised to a 16-5 major decision victory. He also looks as dialed-in as ever.
At 197, we saw our match of the night. Isaac Trumble took on #13 Jay Aiello and showed amazing heart and grit to push it to overtime with a last-minute reversal. In OT, he fought off an Aiello shot for nearly 90 seconds before finally coming out on top for the winning takedown. Isaac did have a little bit of trouble with Aiello’s riding ability, but showed what we already knew: he can beat anybody on any given day because he is so well-rounded.
Trumble’s big night didn’t end there though. Following the dual, Isaac took his Oath of Enlistment into the Army National Guard right in the center of the mat. It was a night full of honoring those who have served, and this was a pretty cool moment to top it off. Now I’m not positive, but I don’t think this has any effect on his immediate future, as he still has three years of eligibility remaining. I believe his service would begin following his graduation.
To close out the dual, Tyrie Houghton won a hard-fought 4-2 decision over a ranked opponent. It’s clear now that the staff have Tyrie penciled into that #1 spot in our heavyweight crop, but Owen Trephan continues to make a case for himself. Trephan has put on a takedown clinic in his last several appearances, including an extra match in each of our ACC duals. It’s fair to say that his opponents have been lesser than Tyrie’s but it’s pretty clear what we’re getting from each. Owen is much more offensive and has a really good arsenal of attacks from his feet whereas Houghton is more defensive and tends to grind out matches, but has been getting the results. Unless he falters big-time, Houghton will probably continue to get the nod, but Owen is not making it an easy decision.
#4 NC State 32-2 Virginia
- 125: #14 Jakob Camacho (NCSU) major dec. Pat McCormick (UVA); 12-3 (4-0 NCSU)
- 133: #15 Kai Orine (NCSU) dec. #22 Brian Courtney (UVA); 10-5 (7-0 NCSU)
- 141: #24 Ryan Jack (NCSU) dec. Dylan Cedeno (UVA); 4-3 (10-0 NCSU)
- 149: #3 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) dec. #30 Jarod Verkleeren (UVA); 5-1 (13-0 NCSU)
- 157: #29 Jake Keating (UVA) dec. #10 Ed Scott (NCSU); 11-10 (13-2* NCSU)
- 165: #21 Thomas Bullard (NCSU) dec. #17 Justin McCoy (UVA); 4-1 (16-2 NCSU)
- 174: #4 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) pin Justin Phillips (UVA); 2:55 (22-2 NCSU)
- 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) major dec. #25 Michael Battista (UVA); 16-5 (26-2 NCSU)
- 197: #20 Isaac Trumble (NCSU) dec. #13 Jay Aiello (UVA); 7-5 SV1 (29-2 NCSU)
- 285: #26 Tyrie Houghton (NCSU) dec. #31 Quinn Miller (UVA); 4-2 (32-2 NCSU)
*UVA deducted team point for coaches storming the mat
Great night for the #pack Appreciate WPN showing up and making Reynolds a special home to wrestle in. The 919 has some serious wrestling fans. See you all back home in 2 weeks. https://t.co/yWWiZ6ZW4u— ⚫️Pat Popolizio (@pat_popolizio) February 5, 2022
This ACC schedule is a slow-burn, as we are ramping up in competition each week starting with Duke & Virginia and now we will travel up to PA to take on Pitt next Friday. Then the following week, we will have our two biggest conference foes in one weekend, both at home. The stakes are being raised, but this team looks as poised as any we’ve ever had to answer the call. Stay tuned for the Pitt preview early next week!