The No. 3 NC State wrestling team will welcome the No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies to Reynolds Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m., with the winner taking home the ACC regular season title.
It’s been a huge couple of weeks for the NC State (13-0, 3-0 ACC) team, defeating then-No. 10 Pittsburgh 21-12 in Pennsylvania before coming home to beat then-No. 8 North Carolina 19-14 Friday. The Pack continued its undefeated season into the final two weeks and held on to a No. 3 ranking for the second week in a row.
Virginia Tech (11-1, 2-1 ACC) has been almost identically impressive this year, losing its only ACC match to North Carolina, which the Pack beat in the final bout last Friday. However, it has wins against then-No. 3 Ohio State, then-No. 9 Missouri, No. 17 Cornell, No. 23 Northwestern and then-No. 24 Central Michigan. It will face Pittsburgh on Feb. 22 after the clash with the Pack.
In the ACC standings, NC State sits in first place at 3-0, with Virginia Tech, Pitt and North Carolina all one match behind at 2-1. A win over the Hokies would give NC State a 4-0 record and the tiebreaker over all three of the other top teams going into the last dual of the season against Duke.
No. 3 redshirt freshman Trent Hidlay faces No. 2 Hunter Bolen (184)
No. 10 redshirt junior Thomas Bullard faces No. 6 David McFadden (165)
No. 11 redshirt junior Tariq Wilson faces No. 19 Mitch Moore (141)
No. 2 redshirt junior Hayden Hidlay faces No. 18 B.C. LaPrade (157)
Great teams come with great wrestlers, and that sets up some unbelievably exciting matchups against the Hokies. Most notably, there are four ranked matchups, including the biggest battle at 184, with No. 3 Trent Hidlay and No. 2 Hunter Bolen.
Which team has the edge?
The Hokies have an edge in a couple of weight classes, specifically at 125 and heavyweight, where Virginia Tech wrestlers are ranked and the Pack wrestlers are not. However, both NC State wrestlers in those classes won their respective bouts against North Carolina, with sophomore Deonte Wilson earning the walk-off takedown in the final seconds. The Wolfpack should have an edge at least at 174, with No. 19 redshirt junior Daniel Bullard facing an unranked opponent.
Neither team has a ranked wrestler in the 133-, 149- or 197-pound bouts. Those were three of the four bouts that the Pack lost against the Tar Heels, so the Pack likely needs its ranked wrestlers to pull through to get the win in this one.
Based on InterMat’s Dual Meet rankings, NC State is the No. 2 dual team in the nation, with Virginia Tech coming in at No. 5. NC State has persevered through all of the other huge tests this season, and along with the higher ranking, that probably gives the Pack a slight edge, but the dual will likely come down to the wire, as it did against the Tar Heels a week prior.
With so much on the line and what will certainly be a huge crowd in Reynolds Coliseum, NC State fans don’t want to miss this dual on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.