NC State wrestling did not repeat its success from last year’s NCAA Championships, losing all but one wrestler, redshirt sophomore Hayden Hidlay, on Friday.
Hidlay entered the quarterfinals round of the 157-pound bracket on Friday as the only NC State wrestler left in his respective championship bracket. He defeated Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo 5-3 in overtime as a takedown with 12 seconds left punched his ticket to the semifinal round.
However, in the semifinals, Hidlay fell 3-2 to top-seeded Jason Nolf of Penn State. For the second year in a row, he came up short of a national championship but losing to any wrestler of Penn State, which has a substantial team lead, is certainly not something to hang his head about.
The weekend is not over for the fifth-seeded Hidlay, who will start his run in the consolation bracket on Saturday. The semifinal match against No. 3 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern will be the first challenge but, either way, Hidlay will finish between third and sixth, earning him All-American honors for the second year in a row.
At 125 pounds, redshirt senior Sean Fausz started his run in the consolation bracket with back-to-back wins via a pin and a 7-2 decision. However, Fausz fell to No. 8 Vitali Arujau of Cornell, just one win shy of All-American honors.
After losing in the second round, 133-pound wrestler redshirt sophomore Tariq Wilson convincingly won his first two consolation matches, but lost 9-7 in overtime to Missouri's eighth-ranked John Erneste. Wilson was also one win shy of being an All-American.
149-pound wrestler graduate Justin Oliver won his first championship bracket match and then one consolation match on Friday, but fell 8-6 against Navy’s Jared Prince. No. 16 redshirt sophomore Thomas Bullard was sent to the consolation bracket after round two by the top-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds and he lost 12-11 in his match Friday.
Despite being upset in the championship bracket round one at 184 pounds, Nick Reenan won his first match in consolations on Thursday but struggled against Tayor Venz of Nebraska in a 7-2 loss.
The Pack’s heaviest wrestler at NCAA Championships was redshirt senior Malik McDonald at 197 pounds, who lost his first challenge on Friday, a second-round consolation bracket match versus Utah Valley’s Tanner Orndorff.
Redshirt senior Jamel Morris, at 141 pounds, won his second consolation match on Friday, but lost his second to get eliminated. Redshirt sophomore Daniel Bullard won just one match this weekend, a first-round consolation match but fell 10-2 on Friday, ending his tournament.
The only Pack wrestler still competing is Hidlay while four NC State wrestlers lost in their first matches on Friday. While the team won't finish in the top five for a second consecutive year, Hidlay will look to finish in the top three of his weight class Saturday.