With two straight ranked victories under its belt, No. 3 NC State wrestling takes on No. 8 Virginia Tech in a match that will decide the ACC dual season champion. Both teams are perfect so far in their seasons.
With the emergence of freshman Isaac Trumble, the Wolfpack has ranked wrestlers in nine of 10 weight classes, while the Hokies have six. The match is set to be one of the year’s most competitive with two individual top-10 matchups and five total ranked matchups. Last year’s contest was decided by just three points, and this one’s ranked contests should be every bit as competitive if not more.
The best bout of the night may be the very first one as No. 4 redshirt sophomore Jakob Camacho takes on No. 8 Sam Latona at 125 pounds. This will be the two’s first dual meeting, and it comes with Camacho on a hot streak. In his first three ACC bouts, he recorded two major decisions and a technical fall. If he can get the decision, it’ll start NC State off on the right foot.
No wrestler has stymied No. 4 redshirt sophomore Trent Hidlay like No. 2 Hunter Bolen, and Hidlay gets another crack at him Friday night. The two saw each other twice last year, with Bolen taking a 3-1 decision in their dual matchup, then a 2-1 decision in the ACC Championship, which got chippy at the end. Expect some excitement at 184 pounds, even if the bout is low scoring.
If No. 13 redshirt sophomore Jarrett Trombley takes the mat, he’ll have a ranked opponent in No. 8 Korbin Meyers. He’s been trading his starting spot back and forth with freshman Ryan Jack these past weeks, and unless he’s dealing with injury, he’s likely NC State’s best bet against Meyers. Trombley had a big-time pin against Virginia Tech in last year’s contest, and the Wolfpack will want to recapture that magic.
No. 15 redshirt senior Thomas Bullard takes on the top 165-pound wrestler in the nation in No. 1 Mehki Lewis. This is Bullard’s third top-10 opponent of the year, and so far he’s 1-1 in such matches. Lewis comes in with an unbeaten record and will likely wake up Saturday with that perfect record still intact.
The final major ranked matchup comes at heavyweight to close things out. No. 19 junior Deonte Wilson takes on No. 17 Jon Borst. The two faced off last year, with Wilson taking a 3-1 decision behind a last-second takedown. Borst later finished third at the ACC Championship while Wilson took second. Wilson is no stranger to late-bout, or late-match, heroics, so if NC State comes into the final bout needing a win, the Wolfpack can be confident it will get one.
NC State’s saving grace may come in it’s matchups against unranked opponents. No. 10 redshirt senior Tariq Wilson, No. 2 redshirt senior Hayden Hidlay, No. 7 Daniel Bullard and No. 16 Trumble face unranked foes, and if they can run up the score, that can cover an unforeseen upset loss or two. The Wolfpack is just too deep across the entirety of its lineup for the Hokies.
NC State travels to Blacksburg, Virginia Friday evening to take on Virginia Tech. The first bout starts at 8 p.m., and the match will be broadcast on ACC Network.