The No. 3 NC State wrestling team walked all over Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday night to win its third straight outright ACC Championship.
The Wolfpack (15-0, 5-0 ACC) clinched its first undefeated dual season in 91 years of wrestling at NC State with a 34-9 victory over the Blue Devils (0-17, 0-5).
Down three usual starters, the rest of the team took care of business led by a fall for redshirt junior No. 2 Hayden Hidlay and a technical fall for redshirt freshman No. 3 Trent Hidlay.
After Duke took a forfeit at 125 pounds, redshirt freshman Jarrett Trombley kicked things off against Harrison Campbell at 133 pounds. Trombley started off looking for blood, twice taking down Campbell in the first period. Both times Campbell quickly escaped as Trombley aggressively went for near falls. Trombley wore his opponent down in the last two periods, recording a four-point near fall in the second and third to cap a 16-4 major decision.
Duke forfeited again at 141 pounds bringing the team score to a 16-0 lead for NC State. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Leitten squared off against Wade Unger at 149 pounds next, quickly notching a takedown and getting a couple four-point near falls. Unable to take Unger down in the final seconds of the match, Leitten cruised to a 14-0 major decision.
At 157 pounds, Hayden Hidlay’s bout went similarly to his teammates’. Hidlay racked up 10 points before pinning Eric Carter in the first period to make it 26-0 NC State.
Things were a little tougher at 165 pounds as redshirt junior Thomas Bullard was rested. Redshirt freshman Matt Fields wrestled in his place, taking on Blake Anderson. After a scoreless first period, Fields began the second with an escape but gave up a takedown— the first lead of the night for a Duke wrestler. Anderson kept the momentum going with an escape and takedown, winning a 6-1 decision for the Blue Devils.
Redshirt junior Daniel Bullard also got some rest at 174 pounds, with redshirt freshman Tyler Barnes taking on Mason Eaglin. Barnes came out hot but couldn’t get a takedown in the first. Eaglin opened the second with an escape, and countered a Barnes shot with a takedown of his own in the waning seconds of the period. Barnes got an escape to begin the third, but his energy was gone and Eaglin took him down yet again, securing riding time for a 6-2 decision.
Trent Hidlay got NC State back on track, taking on Kai Blake at 184 pounds. Hidlay took a 10-2 lead into the second period thanks to a four-point near fall. Trent Hidlay took the bout via tech fall in the second period, getting an escape, takedown and four-point near fall to balloon his lead up to 17-2.
As redshirt junior Nick Reenan continues to recover from injury, sophomore Tyrie Houghton took the mat against Vincent Baker at 197 pounds. Houghton struggled with Baker’s length, entering the third period down 6-3 as he couldn’t secure a takedown. His persistence paid off in the final period, working his way into a takedown, but an escape by Baker gave him the 7-6 decision.
Sophomore Deonte Wilson ended things at heavyweight against Jonah Niesenbaum. Wilson opened the scoring with a second-period escape and getting two stall points. As the period ended, Wilson finally got his arms around Niesenbaum, lifting him and slamming him to the ground for a takedown to go up 5-0, eventually winning an 8-1 decision.
NC State now has two weeks to prepare for the ACC Championship on March 8 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Having dominated the conference, this team has a good chance at taking home more than a few titles at the ACCs.