The last time UNC beat the Wolfpack in Wrestling, Mark Gottfried was headed toward a 5-seed in the tourney and a run to the sweet-sixteen (what a world! (2012)).
With a new coach in former Stanford head-man and UNC alum Rob Koll, UNC is likely to improve in coming years, but this year, they stink! Social media is abuzz with gnashing of teeth over Koll making comments about his belief in a pecking order with UNC being on top and his belief that NC State wrestling fans are just wrestling fans who happened to pick a team that was good at the time (get out your magnifying glass to find the insult here I guess). Whether or not his trash talk is high quality, the sport needs more, not less, of this. Sportsmanship is great, but you gotta build interested fans by getting their emotions involved. So good on him for talking his shit, right before bringing his team to Raleigh to get destroyed.
I could make an argument that State should be favored to win Every. Single. Match. So let's do it, here is why we will not only be favored, but will shut out UNC this year.
125- Jakob Camacho took last week off to get right. He ended up driving to Boone to go to a practice (OK it was a tourney, but he faced 2 of his own teammates in the bracket, so not sure he saw the fresh faces that could have helped him). Either way, I expect Jakob to be ready to roll and beat a rather average Spencer Moore. Last they met, Camacho won 7-2. I'd love to see him really looking confident and getting the major. 3-0
133- Orine will be ready to rock and Orine loves a good home crowd. Orine majored Jace Palmer last time they met and he will do it again. 7-0.
141- UNC does have a wrestler who has qualified for the Olympics in Lachlan McNeill. A Canadian, NcNeill is a really talented wrestler and tough kid who can appreciate the value of a gallon of milk in a bag. However, Jack was able to beat Lachlan in Vegas already this year, making it 3 in row against him (last losing to him back in 2021). Jack will be ready and knows his opponent, Jack wins a squeaker. 10-0.
149- Arrington beat Wil Guida last year and has really taken some big steps forward. No reason to think he loses this one, and in fact I think the mark of our program is talent + development. We will see that in Jackson Arrington as he gets the major. 14-0.
157- Ed Scott. Not to be outdone, Ed would also like to add some bonus points in front of a rowdy Reynolds crowd who no longer feels impressed by a mere win. 18-0.
165- I've been really excited to see Fields making some great progress and getting a great win against Pitt. No reason to think Isaias Estrada will be able to match him. Fields wins. 21-0.
174- UNC's Eischens beat Faison last year. And this and 141 will likely be the toss-up matches. I think these guys are pretty evenly matched. But objects in motion and so on leads to a Faison victory. 24-0.
184- Dylan Fishback is the exciting young face of the Pack this year. He looks great. And he will want to bounce back from a loss to another great wrestler at Pitt last week. Fishback majors. 28-0.
197- If you only go to Reynolds for one reason this year, it should be to see Trent Hidlay in his senior season (OK, and the whole women's basketball team). Trent is really looking elite at 197. Hidlay only knows one mode, and I'm gonna need someone to do a lot of convincing to talk me out of a Tech fall here. 33-0.
Hwt- Trephan is a very talented, offensive-minded Hwt. He showed big improvement last year and has only become more consistent this year. He is fun to watch at a weight that has sometimes been a bit boring to watch. Owen finishes out the match with yet another major. 37-0.
It's gonna be a tough night for Rob Koll. Not only will the final score be a bit embarrassing, even if the shutout doesn't happen, but Rob will have to experience, first hand, the atmosphere in Reynolds compared to the sparse (to be kind) interest in wrestling that exists in Chapel Hill. One would probably have to stare at the ceiling later that night and ask some tough questions about why they departed the Bay Area for a life lived in the shadow of what they can only dream of being a mere few miles down the road.
Go to the match. Watch the match on ACCN. Either way, enjoy!