Part two of Technician’s series counting down the top 18 moments for NC State in 2018 features big wins for wrestling and men’s soccer, a banner day for football at the NFL draft and a strong season for cross country.
12. Wrestling’s comeback win against Nebraska —Just a couple weeks ago, the No. 7 NC State wrestling team faced off against No. 11 Nebraska in Reynolds Coliseum. The Pack found itself down 14-3 after five bouts, but came storming back to decrease Nebraska’s lead to 17-12 with one bout left.
The final bout was No. 4 redshirt sophomore Tariq Wilson, who needed a technical fall to win the match. With the pressure on, Wilson came out aggressive and effective, winning the final bout 18-2 to secure five team points to tie the score at 17-17.
The Pack was awarded the victory because of a tiebreaker, since it outscored the Cornhuskers 56-43.
11. Women’s cross country wins ACC, both teams finish in top 15 at NCAAs—For the third year in a row, the NC State women’s cross country teamcaptured the ACC title in October. Junior Elly Henes placed second in the field, as the Wolfpack finished just one team point better than Notre Dame to clinch the title.
The Wolfpack men finished third at the ACC Championship. After both the men’s and women’s teams won at NCAA Regionals, the Pack got two top-15 finishes at the NCAA Championships. The women finished 13th in the country, while the Pack men finished 11th.
10. Men’s soccer defeats No. 1 UNC-Chapel Hill at Dail— For the first time since 1997, the NC State men’s soccer team beat its bitter rival in Raleigh as a beautiful half-field run and classy finish from sophomore midfielder David Loera gave the Pack a 1-0 win.
A record-breaking crowd at Dail Soccer Stadium joined the Wolfpack in celebration on the field following the huge win over the top-ranked Tar Heels. The victory was the best on an impressive resume that earned the Pack hosting rights for an NCAA Tournament match.
9. School record seven players drafted —Following a breakout 9-4 season in 2017, NC State football picked up another big win on 2018’s draft day. A school record seven players heard their names called by NFL teams.
Defensive end Bradley Chubb was picked by the Denver Broncos at No. 5 overall, the Pack’s highest selection since Mario Williams went first in 2006. The Wolfpack had all four starters from its 2017 defensive line drafted, with B.J. Hill and Justin Jones going to the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively, in the third round, and Kentavius Street to the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round.
The Jacksonville Jaguars picked right tackle Will Richardson in the fourth round, running back Nyheim Hines went to the Indianapolis Colts in that same round and running back Jaylen Samuels was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round.
Most of those players have already made an impact in their rookie seasons. Sending so many players to the pros is a testament to NC State’s ability to develop players, and should continue to help the Pack on the recruiting trail.
8. Wrestling places high at NCAA Championships —The 2017-18 wrestling season was monumental for the program's development as head coach Pat Popolizio’s team proved to not only be a dominant force in the ACC, but in the entire country.
Weeks after finishing second in the ACC Championships, the Pack finished tied for fourth in the NCAA Championships. The highlight was an individual NCAA Championship from Michael Macchiavello in the 197-pound division.
NC State also had an NCAA Championship runner-up in redshirt sophomore Hayden Hidlay, a surprise third-place finish from redshirt sophomore Tariq Wilson and a sixth-place finish by Kevin Jack.
7. Women’s soccer advances to Sweet 16 —Following a solid regular season, NC State women’s soccer went three rounds deep in the postseason, reaching the Sweet 16 for the third straight season before falling to UCLA.
Following a win over Northwestern at home in the first round, the Pack topped Santa Clara on penalties in California to advance to the third round. The Pack sent the game to overtime with a goal from junior midfielder Tziarra King, who led the team with 10 goals on the season, before winning the penalty shootout 5-4.
This series will conclude Monday with the top six moments for NC State sports in 2018.