NC State Wrestling dominated the 2020 ACC Championships as redshirt freshman Jakob Camacho and redshirt junior Hayden Hidlay won their weight classes and NC State topped the team score with 81 points to win its second straight tournament title.
The finals lineup looked a lot like an NC State dual meet, with six NC State wrestlers advancing to the first-place match. Eight Pack wrestlers secured an NCAA berth. Redshirt junior Thomas Bullard finished third at 165 pounds, and redshirt freshman Jarrett Trombley finished fourth at 133 pounds.
No. 18 Camacho got off to a great start against the reigning ACC Champion, No. 2 Jack Mueller, taking him down early in the first period. After an escape, Camacho turned a Mueller shot into a takedown and four-point near fall for a commanding 8-2 lead heading into the second. Camacho took him down once more in the third period to complete the upset, winning gold at 125 pounds and becoming NC State’s first 2020 ACC Champion.
No. 12 redshirt junior Tariq Wilson was up next against No. 13 Zach Sherman and he, too, got off to a quick start with a takedown and 1:13 of riding time. Sherman came back with a trip and takedown of his own in the second to tie things at 3-3, but Wilson escaped to enter the second up a point.
Sherman managed a takedown with less than a minute remaining in the bout to go up 5-4 and struggled mightily to prevent Wilson from escaping. Three times they rolled out of bounds, and on the fourth reset, Wilson appeared to reverse Sherman as time ran out. The two points were not awarded, forcing a brick to be thrown by NC State, but review upheld the call and Sherman avenged his February loss to Wilson with a 5-4 decision.
No. 2 Hayden Hidlay took on No. 24 Taleb Rahmani at 157. Hidlay took Rahmani down early on and turned him for a four-point near fall after a reset to enter the second up 6-1 with over a minute of riding time. An escape and takedown extended the lead to 9-1 entering the third, and in the waning moments of the third period, Hidlay secured one last takedown to win the 157-pound crown for the third straight year with a 12-4 major decision.
No. 12 Daniel Bullard faced off against No. 31 Clay Lautt for the title at 174 pounds. Lautt came out extremely aggressive, putting the pressure on Bullard and taking him down a couple times. After a scoreless second, Bullard entered the third down and quickly escaped to make it 4-3 Lautt. Despite Bullard finally finding his offense and taking many shots of his own, he couldn't take Lautt down and lost a 4-3 decision.
The bout of the night took place at 184 pounds as No. 2 Hunter Bolen and No. 3 redshirt freshman Trent Hidlay faced off. In their first meeting, Bolen took a 3-1 decision victory over Trent Hidlay in Raleigh as he struggled with Bolen’s strength and size. After a scoreless first, Hidlay went down in the second and managed to escape with a little over a minute remaining in the period. Bolen finally got on the board as Hidlay was hit for stalling—he dove off the mat rather than be taken down. Bolen escaped to start the third and give himself a one-point advantage. Despite Hidlay’s increased pressure throughout the third, for the second time he was unable to take Bolen down.
Bolen took the bout by a 2-1 decision to give Trent just his fourth loss on the year. The two may have a rivalry brewing as he, and NC State’s coaching staff, wasn’t happy with a slam by Bolen as time expired. The two will surely meet again soon in another close match.
The day ended with No. 25 sophomore Deonte Wilson taking on No. 10 Demetrius Thomas. Thomas got things started with a takedown but Wilson escaped to enter the second just down one point. Wilson started the second down. After being slammed to the mat, Wilson worked himself free but Thomas quickly overpowered him with another shot.
Down 4-2 entering the third, Wilson nearly got Thomas on his back for a near fall but no dice. Forced to allow Thomas to escape, Wilson got a takedown late in the period but Thomas clung to a one-point lead to win the heavyweight crown with a 5-4 decision.
Next up for NC State: NCAAs. NC State will send at least eight wrestlers to compete for NCAA titles in Minneapolis, Minnesota from March 19-21.