After two rounds at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, only one Wolfpack wrestler remains in the winner’s brackets: redshirt sophomore Hayden Hidlay. The former finalist at 157 pounds led the Wolfpack to a total team score of 13.5, good for 12th overall.
Fourteenth-seeded redshirt senior Sean Fausz kicked things off at 125 pounds against Iowa’s Alex Mackall, easily winning a 8-2 decision. No. 11 redshirt sophomore Tariq Wilson won his first matchup as well, defeating Campbell’s Noah Gosner in a 5-0 decision in the 133-pound division.
At 141 pounds, 14th-seeded redshirt senior Jamel Morris struggled, losing his first match in a 5-1 decision to Sa’Derian Perry (23-8) of Old Dominion. Morris won a 7-2 decision in their regular season meeting. Ninth-seeded graduate Justin Oliver got the team back on track with a 10-6 decision over Lehigh’s Cortlandt Schuyler.
Five-seed Hidlay dominated his opening match at 157 pounds, winning a 16-1 technical fall over Hunter Willits of Oregon State. At 165 pounds, 16th-seeded redshirt sophomore Thomas Bullard won a 3-2 decision but his brother had less luck, as 23-seed redshirt sophomore Daniel Bullard lost his rematch with Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola, 7-5. Labriola won a 13-4 major decision in their regular season meeting.
At 184 pounds, seven-seed redshirt sophomore Nick Reenan stumbled in his matchup against No. 26 Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State, losing a 6-0 decision. Reenan’s right leg injury has hampered him for a large part of this season. At 197 pounds, 13th-seeded redshirt senior Malik McDonald won a 8-3 decision over Noah Adams of West Virginia on the back of a five-point third period.
In the second round of the championships, Fausz matched up against the defending champ at 125 pounds, Spencer Lee of Iowa. Fausz struggled with Lee, and ultimately lost a 10-1 major decision.
Wilson took on six-seed Ethan Lizak of Minnesota in his second-round bout. Down 4-5, Wilson shot for a takedown as time ran out, but was not awarded the two. Factoring in riding time, Wilson lost a tight 6-4 decision.
Oliver attempted to reverse the Wolfpack’s second-round woes against Jarrett Degen of Iowa State, and with the match tied 8-8 with 45 seconds left, was in good position to do so. With 20 seconds left, however, Degen secured a takedown and added on a point for riding time to win an 11-8 decision.
Hidlay turned things around for NC State, taking on 21-seed Justin Thomas of Oklahoma in his second bout. Hidlay dominated Thomas in another 16-1 technical fall to make it to the quarterfinals.
Thomas Bullard had a tough draw in top-seeded Alex Marinelli of Iowa, and fell to an 8-3 deficit after two periods. Marinelli kept it going in the third, defeating Bullard in a 12-4 decision. Malik McDonald followed with a low-scoring bout against fourth-seeded Patrick Brucki of Princeton. McDonald scored an escape in the third round to trail only by a point, but couldn’t secure a takedown, falling in a 3-2 decision.
In the first consolation round, Morris scored nine straight points after falling to an 0-2 deficit against 30-seed Nate Limmex en route to a 10-6 decision. Daniel Bullard followed up that performance with a first-period takedown of Michigan State’s 26th-seeded Drew Hughes. Bullard rode that early lead to a 2-1 decision. In NC State’s final bout of the day, Reenan made quick work of Fresno State’s 23rd-seeded Jackson Hemauer, pinning him.
Bouts continue through Saturday, March 23 as every Wolfpack wrestler is still competing. Hidlay will take on 4-seed Alec Pantaleo as his teammates wrestle in the consolation brackets.