The No. 3 NC State wrestling team is flying high after a dramatic win last Friday against arch-rival No. 8 UNC-Chapel Hill at a raucous Reynolds Coliseum. With the win, the Wolfpack (13-0, 3-0 ACC) remained undefeated and at the top of the ACC Standings. Here are some takeaways from what has been a special season so far for NC State head coach Pat Popolizio’s team.
Hidlay brothers lead the way
With all the success the team has had, the two guys leading the way are the Hidlay brothers. At 157, redshirt junior Hayden Hidlay has seemingly had his way against everyone he has gone up against. He is No. 1 in the country for his weight class, with a 24-1 record, including five pins.
Redshirt freshman Trent Hidlay is no joke either. His stats are just about as good as his brothers, as the Pennsylvania native has a 21-2 record, and is ranked No. 5 in the country at 184. Expect nothing less from these two, as the Wolfpack comes down the stretch of ACC play into the postseason.
Wolfpack comes ready for the big matches
Out of its 13 games this season, NC State has played four ranked teams. The Wolfpack has shown up when it has needed to and proven its worth. In those four games, which comprised of then-No. 15 Cornell, then-No. 12 Princeton, No. 10 Pittsburgh and No. 8 UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State outscored its opponents 77 to 47, with an average margin of victory of 11.75, which is by more than three decisions.
Reynolds is rocking
In its biggest wrestling match ever, Reynolds Coliseum did not disappoint. More than 4,300 people packed inside the famous arena and gave NC State an unprecedented home advantage. With the crowd, NC State fans broke a Wolfpack wrestling record for attendance. With one regular season home match left, expect Wolfpack nation to show out again when No. 7 Virginia Tech comes to town Feb. 14 with the ACC Championship on the line.
“This was awesome,” Popolizio said after the match against UNC-Chapel Hill. “For your casual fan to be here and see this, this is what my vision of what college wrestling should be like. Having the opportunity to be in some great arenas with good crowds, this was as good a place as I have ever been.”
Reenan not the same
In a year full of highs for NC State, redshirt junior Nick Reenan has been a disappointment after coming back from a torn ACL. The former No. 2 wrestler at 184, has moved up to 197 and is a mediocre 5-5 this year, including being forced to retire against Virginia in the first period. With a chance to clinch the dual match against Carolina, Reenan was dominated by Brandon Whitman, getting shut out 7-0. Despite the lows, there is still time for Reenan to right the ship, but if he does not quickly, he may find himself on the bench more often than not.
Tariq Wilson is that dude
After making a jump one weight class to 141 this year, redshirt junior Tariq Wilson has not slowed up his production for the Wolfpack. The Ohio native is currently No. 11 in the country in his weight class and is 22-4 this year. Wilson has yet to lose a match in dual play, and in a ranked matchup on the big stage against No. 11 Zach Sherman of UNC-Chapel Hill, Wilson dominated, winning 6-0.