The No. 4 NC State wrestling team won a huge dual on the road against No. 10 Pittsburgh 21-12 Saturday night, winning six of the 10 bouts, including two with bonus points.
With the win, the Wolfpack is now 12-0 overall and 2-0 in ACC play for the season and with only three duals remaining on the schedule, the Pack has a good chance to run with the perfect record.
The dual started with the 197-pound bout and sophomore Tyrie Houghton put up a strong fight against Pitt’s Kellen Stout but couldn’t get the decision, falling 5-3 after the addition of riding time.
With the Pack down 3-0, the dual moved on to the 285-pound bout and sophomore Deonte Wilson was faced with a daunting task against No. 8 Demetrius Thomas. Wilson kept the bout close through the first two periods, but experience proved key as Thomas pulled out the decision 6-2.
NC State had fallen into an early 6-0 hole, but it was one of the younger guys that finally got the Wolfpack on the board. In the 125-pound bout, redshirt freshman Jakob Camacho piled on the points late as he grabbed bonus points in a 11-3 major decision to bring the Pack back into the dual.
However, another tough matchup for the Wolfpack in the 133-pound bout pushed Pitt’s lead back up. Redshirt freshman Jarrett Trombley faced off against No. 6 Micky Phillippi who controlled the tempo through the entire bout, grabbing the decision 4-0.
Even despite being down 9-4, NC State had nothing to worry about as it still had six top-20 wrestlers waiting for their turns to help their team out, and it was these heavy hitters that delivered for the Pack.
In the 141-pound bout, No. 11 redshirt junior Tariq Wilson mounted a strong comeback against Pitt’s Cole Matthews after going down early in the first period to eventually cap off the bout with a 5-2 decision.
Moving on up to the 149-pound bout, redshirt sophomore A.J. Leitten gave the Wolfpack its first lead of the night as he dominated his opponent en route to a 7-0 decision.
The Pack got its biggest win of the night in the 157-pound bout as No. 2 redshirt junior Hayden Hidlay scored a 16-1 tech fall over Pitt’s Taleb Rahmani. Hidlay struck fast with two takedowns in the first, and he only kept it coming from there as he dominated the bout.
Now up 15-9, NC State was faced with probably the most even matched bout of the dual with the 165-pound bout. No. 13 redshirt junior Thomas Bullard faced off against No. 12 Jake Wentzel, and the bout played out just as evenly as it seemed it would. The Wolfpack squeezed out on top as Bullard’s lone takedown proved to be the difference in the 3-1 decision.
Next up was the 174-pound bout and No. 16 redshirt junior Daniel Bullard stepped up against Pitt’s Gregg Harvey. The bout went down to the wire, but Pitt managed to grab a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the third to take it in a 10-8 decision.
The final bout was in 184-pound weight class and it was a top-10 battle as No. 3 redshirt freshman Trent Hidlay faced off against No. 7 Nino Bonaccorsi. Hidlay rode two takedowns in the first to victory as he took the bout in a 6-3 decision.
With the victory, NC State set its second-best start in school history and the team is set to return home and prepare for two massive ACC showdowns. Both will be against top-10 opponents, the first against school rival No. 8 UNC on Friday, Feb. 7 and the second will be against No. 7 Virginia Tech on Friday, Feb. 14.