After a disappointing trip out to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational, the NC State wrestling team returned to action on Friday night against the Mountaineers in Boone. The Pack won 7 of 10 bouts to register a dominant 24-12 victory.
The action started at 141 pounds, where #13 Tariq Wilson got things rolling with a 6-2 win. This was far from Tariq’s best performance, which did not help to mitigate the concerns I have with him following CKLV. He has a high-pace style with efficient attacks that result in points on points on points. However, thus far this season, Tariq has looked far too casual. He seems content to wrestle close matches when he possesses the rare ability to overwhelm even the elite guys. His trip to Boone wasn’t much different. He clearly struggled with the elevation and appeared gassed after the 2nd period. Fortunately, he was able to mask this by spending most of the match in the top position and accumulating loads of riding time. This still isn’t the Tariq we were all hoping to see this season, but at least he overcame the adversity and got the W.
AJ Leitten would drop a 5-0 decision in the 149 pound match, however this was not as lopsided as the score would indicate. A couple questionable stall calls put Leitten in a hole, and his inability to finish three times with his opponent’s leg in the air would prove to be the story of the bout.
The strength of the Wolfpack lineup came into effect from 157-197 where they reeled off five straight victories, which included two major decisions (winning by 8-14 points, resulting in 4 team points) by the Hidlay brothers. This also served as the return of Nick Reenan. And what a return it was. Trailing 3-2 late, Reenan was able to create a scramble where he slapped on a cradle for the winning takedown with five seconds left. The circumstances (new weight class, elevation, and a hostile crowd) were not necessarily ideal for his first match back, but similarly to Tariq, perhaps overcoming this adversity will serve as a kickstarter for Nick. He clearly will need match time to adjust to his new home at 197 and get his conditioning to where it needs to be, but with the training partners he has in the room (Trent Hidlay, Mike Macchiavello, etc.) I think he will get there quickly. Expect to see Nick return to the FloWrestling rankings on Tuesday (he was removed this past week due to inactivity).
The Heavyweight bout went to App State by major decision and set the stage for Jakob Camacho to ice the dual with a victory at 125. He did just that, to the tune of a 14-6 major decision. This was the Camacho we’ve been waiting to see all year. He looked smooth on his feet and active. His attack rate was high and unhindered by conditioning, which it had been earlier in the season. It looks as though he may be turning a corner after a massively disappointing CKLV.
The dual closed out with a former Wolfpacker, Codi Russell of App State, tech-falling (immediate stoppage when winning by 15+ points, resulting in 5 team points) his former teammate, Tommy Cox. No doubt Russell was hoping to avenge a loss from earlier in the season to Jarrett Trombley, but it looked like with the dual result no longer in question, Pat Pop wanted to hold Trombley out.
#6 NC State 24-12 Appalachian State
- 141: #13 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) dec. Bradley Irwin (App); 6-2 (3-0 NCSU)
- 149: Jonathan Millner (App) dec. A.J. Leitten (NCSU); 5-0 (3-3)
- 157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) major dec. #17 Matt Zovistoski (App); 16-3 (7-3 NCSU)
- 165: #11 Thomas Bullard (NCSU) dec. Will Formato (App); 6-2 (10-3 NCSU)
- 174: Daniel Bullard (NCSU) dec. Thomas Flitz (App); 6-4 (13-3 NCSU)
- 184: #2 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) major dec. Julian Gorring (App); 17-5 (17-3 NCSU)
- 197: Nick Reenan (NCSU) dec. Paul Carson (App); 4-3 (20-3 NCSU)
- 285: #19 Cary Miller (App) major dec. Colin Lawler (NCSU); 13-3 (20-7 NCSU)
- 125: Jakob Camacho (NCSU) major dec. Sean Carter (App); 14-6 (24-7 NCSU)
- 133: Codi Russell (App) tech fall Tommy Cox (NCSU); 19-3 (24-12 NCSU)
This was a fun dual with a raucous crowd who loved giving it to Popolizio and the rest of the NC State bench. The Mountaineer fans certainly didn’t appreciate the ‘Raise the Roof’ that Trent threw out after his win or the staredown from Nick Reenan. But to the victors go the spoils, and the sport needs personality like this. So I’m here for it all day!
The Pack has the next couple weeks off for the holidays, and return to action on January 1st & 2nd at the Southern Scuffle.