2022 157 lb ACC champion Ed Scott (photos courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
NC State will look to add a fifth-straight ACC title to the trophy case, but will be doing it with a lot of new faces in the lineup. The Wolfpack have had a lot of consistency in the lineup over the past few years, but will have a major shift with the graduation of some of the most credentialed wrestlers to come through Raleigh. Three-time All-American Tariq Wilson and four-time All-American Hayden Hidlay both graduated after utilizing their extra year of eligibility. They were both key leaders on the team, but have passed the torch to the new generation, including younger Hidlay brother Trent, who truly embodies the culture that Pat Popolizio and crew have built. Coach Popolizio has put together very strong recruiting classes and that will pay dividends this year, with at least one true freshman in the lineup and others fighting to take a spot.
Ed Scott made a major jump last year; he went from a 6-6 record his freshman year to 24-3 last season. He knocked off three-time All-American and 2021 National Champion Austin O'Connor to take the ACC title; he was also named ACC Rookie of the Year. He qualified for the NCAA tournament and went 2-2 in Detroit, falling in the blood round to Peyton Robb, in what may have been the quickest pin ever recorded on a roll throughâ€¦ Scott is in a loaded weight class in the ACC which sees returning All-Americans, Bryce Andonian (moving up from 149) and Austin O'Connor, as well as Dazjon Casto and Jake Keating, both of whom are ranked in the preseason top-15.
Trent Hidlay has been one of the emotional leaders of this team since he entered the lineup; I highly encourage everyone to watch him during a dual while his teammates wrestle, it is highly entertaining. He has put together an impressive career in Raleigh already, and I still think the best is yet to come. He is a three-time NCAA qualifier and earned All-American honors in both tournaments where he actually wrestled; he was a finalist in 2021 and took home fifth-place honors last season. Hidlay was 21-2 last season and earned his second ACC title; he is 78-10 in his career and has a nearly 50% BONUS rate.
Isaac Trumble made the most of his first year as a full-time starter, He put together a 21-6 record that saw him making the ACC finals and earning a trip to the NCAA championships where he went 1-2. Trumble uses his length incredibly well and has proven to be a dangerous top wrestler. The coaching staff has said that he has been focusing on improving from neutral and is ready to make the jump to the podium this season.
Hayden Hidlay finished his NC State career as one of the most accomplished wrestlers to come through Raleigh. He was a five-time NCAA qualifier, four-time ACC Champion, NCAA finalist and four-time All-American (2nd, 4th, COVID, 5th, 3rd). He finished with an overall record of 132-14 with a 61% BONUS rate. You will see Hayden as he joined the staff as the Student-Athlete Development Coordinator.
Tariq Wilson will also go down in the NC State record books after his stellar career. He was a five-time NCAA qualifier, three-time All-American (3rd, R12, COVID, 3rd, 7th), and two-time ACC Champion. Wilson finished with a career record of 122-31 for the Wolfpack.
While Thomas Bullard may have never made the All-American podium, he was critical to the success of the Wolfpack program over the past six years. He was a five-time NCAA qualifier and won many crucial matches for the Pack on his way to a career record of 104-46.
Jackson Arrington will be jumping into the lineup as a true freshman for the Wolfpack, filling the spot left by the graduation of Tariq Wilson. He was a major recruit for Coach Popolizio. A three-time PA State Champion, he was #28 on the Big Board and has an incredibly high ceiling. He knocked off fellow true freshman Finn Solomon to earn the starting spot.
Matty Singleton is another true freshman that may see time in the starting lineup for the Wolfpack at 174. He was a four-time Georgia State Champion with an overall record of 213-3 and was #13 on the Big Board. Singelton was beaten by Brock Delsignore in the finals of the wrestle-offs, so Delsignore will get the nod to start, but I expect that we will see Singleton in the lineup at points, as well, to see where he stands in competition.
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Kai Orine won the starting spot last year at 133 and had a good freshman year. He made the round of 16 at the NCAA tournament, going 2-2 in Detroit. He finished the year at 18-7 and took third place at the ACC tournament. We got glimpses of his potential last year and I think he can be something special at 133.
The 125 weight class will be a big one to watch for the potential impact it could have on the ACC race. Jarrett Trombley will start the season, and enters with a #17 ranking to start the year. He is a two-time NCAA qualifier at 133--where he made the round of 16 in 2021. Jakob Camacho, who has been the starter at 125 the past three seasons, is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Camacho is a three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time ACC Champion. The coaching staff will make the call over the course of the season on whether Camacho will be healthy enough to return in the second half of the season, or whether Trombley will hold the weight for the entire season. The weight class will be in good hands with either wrestler, so this will be an interesting one to watch.
TOP OUT-OF-CONFERENCE DUAL
Coach Popolizio and crew have put together another strong schedule that will see them dual several top-20 teams, including a second trip to the Journeymen Collegiate Duals in New Orleans. Both pool matches, #28 Cal Poly and #21 Lehigh, in New Orleans, will feature great individual matchups. I am very intrigued by the early season dual they will have against Nebraska at the inaugural WrangleMania in Bethlehem, PA. They will face #14 Nebraska to open the event. The matchup between #7 Ed Scott and #4 Peyton Robb alone will be worth the price of admission, but there are several other fun matchups as well. Keep an eye on Isaac Trumble facing his home-state school--this is probably more interesting to me as a Nebraska-native than it is to most peopleâ€¦
149 #4 Ridge Lovett (possible redshirt) v Jackson Arrington
157 #4 Peyton Robb v #7 Ed Scott
174 #3 Michael Labriola v Brock Delsignore/Matty Singleton
197 #27 Silas Allred v #18 Isaac Trumble
125: #17 Jarrett Trombley (10-4) 2x NCAA Qualifier
*Jakob Camacho (18-5) 3x NCAA Qualifier 2x ACC Champ
*Out with injury--may return 2nd semester
133: #11 Kai Orine (18-7) NCAA Qualifier
141: #21 Ryan Jack (18-9) NCAA Qualifier
149: Jackson Arrington True Freshman/Finn Solomon True Freshman/Hunter Lewis (14-8)
157: #7 Ed Scott (26-4) NCAA Qualifier (R12) ACC Champ
165: Donald Cates (15-6)/Derek Fields (24-9)
174: Brock Delsignore (20-8)/Matty Singleton True Freshman
184: #3 Trent Hidlay (21-2) 3x NCAA Qualifier 2x All-American (2nd 2021, 5th 2022) 2x ACC Champion 3x ACC Finalist
197: #18 Isaac Trumble (21-6) NCAA Qualifier ACC Finalist
285: #13 Tyrie Houghton (22-11) NCAA Qualifier/Owen Trephan (18-6)