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#4 PackWrestle: The team you deserve. New Rankings & Pitt Preview

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2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Wrestling Championship Photo by Justin K. Aller/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The happenings of the last few days have certainly brought out the doom & gloom to permeate the BTP community. I see a lot of donors and diehards and lifers frustrated at the lack of national prominence among our revenue sports for the past 30+ years. And I don’t blame you for your frustrations. Your hard-earned dollars are not translating into results on the gridiron and on the court. NC State is without an ACC Championship in football or basketball since 1987. That doesn’t cut it, and I get that. However, I challenge all of you to ask yourselves, “Am I getting the best I can out of the NC State athletic experience?” If you’re limiting yourself to revenue sports, then that answer is absolutely and unequivocally, “no”. Our university currently has five programs in the top-10 of their respective sports, including your wrestling team led by Pat Popolizio. My man Paul gets it.

You want results? PackWrestle is 11-0 on the season and is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the country. You want national prominence? PackWrestle is up to #4 in the latest NWCA rankings and has been in the top-10 for 69 (nice) straight polls dating back to the 2015-16 season. You want championships? PackWrestle has two ACC titles in the last five years and was only the second-ever ACC team to place top-4 at NCAAs (2018). Hell, you just want to see some effort and gameplan execution?? Come to Reynolds and give this team two hours to impress you. This program has proven it is top-10 in the country, yet ranks 20th in fan attendance as of last year. I know historically North Carolina is not a wrestling state, but Pop is changing that culture, and you can help that. This team deserves more from the fans. And the fans deserve more from NC State athletics. I promise you can find that in this team.

I mean, you can’t tell me that doesn’t get you hyped up!

New Rankings

FloWrestling released their new set of rankings on Monday and here is where our guys fell:

  • 125 - Camacho #18 (last week: 19)
  • 141 - T. Wilson #15 (15)
  • 157 - H. Hidlay #2 (2)
  • 165 - T. Bullard #14 (13)
  • 174 - D. Bullard #15 (14)
  • 184 - T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197 - Reenan #22 (24)

I’m a little disappointed not to see Trombley, Leitten, or Deonte Wilson crack into the top-25 this week coming off of their wins in the Virginia dual. I’d imagine they’re each right on the fringe and wins this week should slide them up, especially in the cases of Trombley & Deonte.

Pitt Dual

How to Watch: ACC Network Extra

The Pack kick off a challenging three-week stretch this Saturday at #10 Pittsburgh. Then they return home to face #8 North Carolina and #7 Virginia Tech on consecutive Fridays.

Pitt is a sneaky-good team, however they certainly won’t be sneaking up on the Pack this year. The Panthers traveled down to Raleigh last season and stole an 18-16 victory, so you can bet Pat Pop will have the boys ready to go for this one. Projected lineups and my predictions are below:

  • 125- #18 Jakob Camacho vs. Louis Newell (Camacho major; 4-0 NCSU)
  • 133- Jarrett Trombley vs. #6 Micky Phillippi (Phillippi decision; 4-3 NCSU)
  • 141- #15 Tariq Wilson vs. #18 Cole Matthews (Wilson decision; 7-3 NCSU)
  • 149- AJ Leitten vs. Luke Kemerer (Leitten major; 11-3 NCSU)
  • 157- #2 Hayden Hidlay vs. Taleb Rahmani (Hidlay major; 15-3 NCSU)
  • 165- #14 Thomas Bullard vs. #11 Jake Wentzel (Bullard decision; 18-3 NCSU)
  • 174- #15 Daniel Bullard vs. Gregg Harvey (Bullard decision; 21-3 NCSU)
  • 184- #3 Trent Hilday vs. #7 Nino Bonaccorsi (Hidlay decision; 24-3 NCSU)
  • 197- #22 Nick Reenan or Tyrie Houghton vs. Kellen Stout (Stout decision over Houghton; 24-6 NCSU)
  • 285- Deonte Wilson vs. #10 Demetrius Thomas (Thomas decision; 24-9 NCSU)

My Thoughts

This is typically where I would put the ‘Key Matchups’, but I could realistically put eight of them in here, and nobody wants to read that, so I will just highlight a few points.

  • At 133, Trombley faces a similar challenge that Camacho did last week against Mueller of Virginia. Phillippi poses a serious threat from the top position and the near-fall points and riding time can start to rack up fast when he’s wrestling his type of match. Trombley needs to slow this match down with his upper body ties and keep it on the feet. He does a great job of making matches close at the end, which gives him a shot to steal this one late if he can execute his gameplan. I don’t think he’s ready to take out a guy of Phillippi’s caliber yet, but I also don’t think he gets majored.
  • I know I predicted a pretty lopsided victory for the Pack here, but this could just as easily swing the other way. 141, 165, 174, and 184 are all toss-up matches. I do like our chances in each of them, but would not be shocked to lose any or all of them. The dual will hang on the results of these four weights in my opinion.
  • Will we see Reenan? I highly doubt it, despite hearing nothing about his status this past week. And that could be a huge absence in a dual with the potential to be this tight.

This dual actually scares me more than the Carolina or Virginia Tech duals coming up. I just feel like Pitt matches up against us pretty well. Either way it should be an exciting tangle. Tune in on Saturday at 7:00. Go Pack!