Not every new student coming to NC State comes in with the same level of knowledge about NC State Athletics. Some have been lifelong fans, others may have only seen a handful of events or none at all. Whichever camp you fall into, we wanted to make sure you knew at least one name on every NC State team, so here is the who is who of NC State Athletics.
Football - Alim McNeill
In the last three years, NC State has had six defensive linemen selected in the NFL draft, and there are many who believe junior defensive tackle Alim McNeill could be the next to play on Sundays. At 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 320 pounds, McNeill has recorded 52 total tackles and nine sacks in his first two seasons for the Wolfpack and has yet to scratch the surface of his potential. The Raleigh native and graduate of Sanderson High School will look to lead a revamped defense in 2020 and power NC State back to relevancy.
Volleyball - Melissa Evans
Few players in NC State volleyball history have been more consistent at a high level in their first three seasons than senior opposite hitter Melissa Evans. She has been a star ever since her freshman year, having been named to the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2017 and to Second-Team All-ACC back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019. Evans currently ranks fifth in program history in career kills with 959 and last season ranked in the top five in the ACC in both kills and points. Under new head coach Luka Slabe, Evans will try to lead NC State back to the NCAA tournament this season for the first time in three years.
Men’s Cross Country - Ian Shanklin
One of two returning All-Americans to the NC State cross country teams, senior Ian Shanklin will look to finish out his college career strong this upcoming season. Along with being an All-American in 2019, Shanklin has twice been named an All-ACC cross country team member and has made the All-Region cross country team three seasons in a row. He also finished third at the ACC Championships in 2019 and in the top-40 at the NCAA Championships. The All-American will strive for even higher grounds this year.
Women’s Cross Country - Kelsey Chmiel
Named an All-American as a freshman, sophomore Kelsey Chmiel is a young stud on the women’s cross country team. She finished fourth at the 2019 ACC Championships and in the top-25 at the NCAA Championships, helping NC State win the ACC team championship for the fourth year in a row and finish fifth at the NCAA Championships. With the departure of Elly Henes from last year’s team, Chmiel will perhaps be the alpha for the Wolfpack this year and look to achieve new heights in her promising young career.
Men’s Soccer - Leon Krapf
After missing nearly the entire 2019 season due to injury, redshirt junior goalkeeper Leon Krapf will return to the pitch this year with the NC State men’s soccer team that has made it to the NCAA Tournament three seasons in a row. The Gochsheim, Germany native had two of the best seasons of any goalkeeper in NC State history in 2017 and 2018. In each year, Krapf posted seven shutouts, the sixth most in a single season in school history, and his 14 career shutouts are good for fifth all-time. He also posted the fourth-lowest single-season goals against average mark with 1.06 in 2017, and his career GAA of 1.09 is the lowest in school history.
Not only is Krapf a leader on the pitch, but he is also a leader off the pitch, serving as the president and chairman of the executive committee of NC State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. According to the NCAA, SAAC offers “input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses.”
Women’s Soccer - Lulu Guttenberger
The NC State women’s soccer team’s leading returning scorer from last season is senior defender Lulu Guttenberger, and she scored some of her goals in the biggest games of last year. The Velburg, Germany native scored a goal against Navy in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and against No. 8 Arkansas in the second round of the tournament.
Not only can Guttenberger score in big moments, but she is also an excellent defender, earning ACC Defensive Player of the Week at one point in 2019. Guttenberger was also named All-ACC Third Team last season and Third-Team All-Region by United Soccer Coaches.
Men’s Basketball - Manny Bates
Redshirt sophomore Manny Bates, one of the Wolfpack big men standing at 6-foot-11, led the ACC in blocks last year, averaging almost three a game. This incredible disruptive force on defense both makes the games exciting and helps lead the team to victory. On offense, he can be productive, but this will have to be a bigger focus on his game, only averaging about five points per game. Bates missed a few games last year due to injury and missed the entire 2018-2019 season before that, so he still has plenty of time.
Bates and the Pack will be returning after the 2019-20 season that saw the ACC Tournament get cut short, as well as its NCAA Tournament chances. Bates will be working alongside DJ Funderburk, a 6-foot-10 redshirt senior who gathers more of the points. Bates and Funderburk work beautifully together, being threats on both sides of the court.
Women’s Basketball - Elissa Cunane
Elissa Cunane is perhaps the strongest piece of the women’s basketball team at NC State. Standing at 6-foot-5, Cunane dominated scoring all over the floor, both with hard-fought points in the paint and skillful jumpers. Last season, she averaged over 16 points per game and nearly 10 rebounds with only 27 minutes. Because of her hard work, Cunane was unanimously picked as an First-Team All-ACC honoree. She was also picked into the All-ACC Tournament Team as well as making the third team for AP and USBWA.
Lastly, Cunane was the only player in the ACC to average a double-double in the regular season. Cunane’s versatile playstyle and intense work ethic helped produce a Wolfpack championship in the ACC Tournament. Cunane’s vast improvement from her first two years should be exciting to watch this winter season.
Wrestling - Trent Hidlay
Trent Hidlay, who will be a redshirt sophomore, will be a top dog once again on the wrestling mats this year. Wrestling in the 184 weight class, Hidley experienced a ton of success last year, going 23-4 overall, with a 4-1 ACC record. He earned 2020 All-America First-Team honors, All-ACC honors, won three top-five victories and beat two of those top five in the same day in road duels. He made it to the NCAA Championships and was seeded No. 5 in his weight class before the event in March was canceled.
Hidlay won second place in the ACC Championship. He won Wrestler of the Week twice in the 2019-2020 season and won Freshman of the Year. Trent wrestles alongside his brother, Hayden Hidlay, who has his fair share of accolades and awards and the two will lead what should be a top wrestling program this year.
Women’s Indoor Track - Michelle Cobb
Senior Michelle Cobb will enter her fourth year for the Wolfpack, excelling in the triple jump and long jump events. Cobb has accomplished much in her previous years, including four All-ACC Performer titles (three of them for indoor). This past season, Cobb was a 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships Qualifier for the triple jump event. She also won back-to-back events in the triple jump at USC and VT. In 2018-2019, she earned all-conference status for the triple jump. She continues to get better; her freshman year best for triple jump was 41’5.25” and last season she posted a 43’5.75” jump at the Hokie Invite. While she betters herself on the field, she continues to impress in the classroom, as she made the 2017-2018 Indoor All-ACC Academic Team. Cobb’s improvement throughout the years is evident, and her senior year will be her best one yet.
Men’s Indoor Track - Cravont Charleston
Graduate student Cravont Charleston will enter his fifth and final year for the Wolfpack. Charleston is a sprinter in both indoor and outdoor. He is an All-American for the 60-meter race in 2019, when he set the school record with a time of 6.54 seconds. Charleston won the ACC Championship in 2020 in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.58 seconds. He won first at USC and got third at Texas Tech this past year in the same event and also won at Virginia Tech with the 200-meter race, proving his versatility in indoor. Overall, he is an eight-time All-ACC performer, with four of his titles being indoor.
Men’s Swimming and Diving - Nyls Korstanje
Nyls Korstanje will be a junior this upcoming winter season. His first two years have already boasted an array of awards and accolades to his name. He is an 11-time All-American in seven different events. Korstanje is a seven-time ACC Champion in six different events, including the 200 medley relay which he won in both years. In his freshman year, he was the ACC Men’s Freshman of the Year. Last year, he won the ACC Championship for the 50-meter and the 100-meter race, and placed third for the 100-meter butterfly. He was ranked top-15 nationally for the events he participated in at the ACC Championships, scoring 6th place, 9th place and 15th place.
With a season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Korstanje still had a lot of metal to take home from the past year. He is also the world record holder for the 4x50 mixed freestyle relay. While at college, he kept up with his schoolwork, earning Academic All-ACC Team in 2019 and CSCAA Scholar All-American in 2020. With plenty of time still to improve, Korstanje still has plenty of potential and action still to go.
Women’s Swimming and Diving - Kylee Alons
Junior Kylee Alons has one of the best resumes at NC State and is only going into her third year. She is a 13-time All-American for nine different events between two years. She’s a four-time ACC Champion, with a repeat in the 400 medley relay. In the ACC Championship for the 400 medley race, she and her squad beat the school record, and her and another squad tied the school record for the 800 freestyle relay. Finally, despite the season cut short, she still received All-American honors in seven events.
This lengthy list of accomplishments and achievements can only get bigger with the skill that Alons possesses. Out of the water, Alons also succeeds in the classroom, earning Academic All-ACC Team and CSCAA Scholar All-American in both of her years.
Gymnastics - Lauren Kent
Senior Lauren Kent is one of the prime examples of a scholar athlete. In each of her three years at NC State, she has made the All-EAGL Scholastic Team, and she received WCGA Scholastic All-American honors in both 2018 and 2019. As an athlete, she is one of the more versatile athletes, being the only member of the Pack to compete in the all-around at every single meet during the 2020 season. She competes in each event for a reason, with a career high all-around score of 39.2 out of 40.
Last season, she scored an incredible 39.00 or higher all-around score in six different meets and was EAGL Gymnast of the Year, made the All-EAGL First Team for Bars and All-Around scores, and made second team for the beam event. She has received 14 honors in her three years, making All-EAGL teams in bars for all three years and beam for two years. Her most recent achievement of making first team in All-Around proves her success and versatility in all events, and should be exciting to watch her senior year of gymnastics.
Rifle - Emily Fisher
Junior Emily Fisher has been blasting away the competition for the Wolfpack in her past two years. She participates in both the smallbore and air rifle events for rifle, with a personal best of 587 and 593 out of 600, respectively, both achieved this past season. The air high air rifle career helped the Wolfpack achieve the second-highest team score in program history. Her highest aggregate score is an 1175 out of 1200, after beating her high score three separate times this past year. Fisher took 18th place with an 1169 finish at the Great American Rifle Conference Championships, the best in the Pack.
Because of her high scores, she received an All-GARC Smallbore Honorable Mention in 2020. In her freshman year, she led the Pack at the GARC Championships with 580 in smallbore, finishing 10th that year. Going into her third year, she continues to lead the team and improve her own skills, and should be fun to watch this winter season.
Baseball - Devonte Brown
Starting off with baseball, senior outfielder Devonte Brown is the name to know. After having a relatively quiet first two seasons in Raleigh, the Georgia native broke out in the shortened 2020 season, hitting in the cleanup spot. In 17 games, Brown batted .338 and had 19 RBIs with five home runs. His hot bat led to him starting the season on a 13-game hit streak.
Softball - Sydney Nester
Moving to softball, a name to know is junior pitcher Sydney Nester. The Wolpfack’s ace was phenomenal her sophomore season with a record of 10-4 in 86.1 innings pitched with a 3.24 ERA and 89 strikeouts. These stats were good enough for her to lead the Woflpack in nearly every pitching category. Nester was one of two pitchers in the ACC with double-digit wins in 2019.
Men’s Tennis - Tadas Babelis
Switching from the diamond to the court, we will now look at standout men’s tennis senior Tadas Babelis. Coming from Lithuania, Babelis has starred in both singles and doubles for NC State during his time in Raleigh. He had a record of 25-16 to account for the most wins on the team when combining singles and doubles last season. Babelis has also competed in a Davis Cup for his country, bringing that international experience to the team.
Women’s Tennis - Alana Smith
On the women’s side, junior Alana Smith is the highlight. 22-11 was her singles record, including an 11-5 record when playing as the No. 1 seed for NC State. For four and a half months last season, she, alongside senior Anna Rogers, were the No. 1-ranked doubles duo in the country. All of this success led to her being named in All-American for the second straight season.
Men’s Golf - Max Steinlechner
Swinging over to the links, sophomore Max Steinlechner is a name you should know on the NC State men’s golf team. On a team that was full of seniors last year, the Austria native held his own and will look to star for the Wolfpack this year. He had six rounds under par and one top-10 finish last season. When recruited, Steinlecner was ranked as high as No. 17 in the World Amatuer Golf rankings.
Women’s Golf - Monika Hartl
For the women, Wolfpack students need to know senior Monika Hartl. She led the team with a 72.66 stroke average and will look to best that in her final season in Raleigh. The Germany native also had three top-20 finishes, including a second place finish at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic.
Men’s Outdoor Track and Field - Jamar Davis
Running over to Dail Field and Track Complex, the name you need to know for men’s track and field is junior Jamar Davis. David competes in the long jump and the triple jump, and is a former All-American. He is also a three-time All-ACC performer.
Women’s Outdoor Track and Field - Kayla Beasley
Lastly, women’s track and field star junior Kayla Beasley. She competes in the field events of weight throw and shot put. She put together six top-10 finishes a year ago, most notably first place in both her events at the Gamecock Opener.