Hokies Wrestling 2020: #7 Virginia Tech (11-1) vs #2 North Carolina State (13-0)

Match Information
Location: Reynold Coliseum - Raleigh, NC
Day & Time: 14 FEB 20 at 7:00pm
Viewing: ACCN and in-person
Updates: Twitter @HokiesWrestling, and Trackwrestling

The Opponent: North Carolina State University Wolfpack

2018-2019 Season and Now

North Carolina State's dual record last year was an impressive 16-3 (4-1 ACC) with a fairly weak schedule, but has swept the ACC regular season and tournament titles. Last year's match against Virginia Tech was a close battle with unfortunately the Hokies on the losing end, dropping a 17-16 dual due to criteria of more team points. This means each team won five bouts, but the Wolfpack score more overall points. Each had four decisions and two major decisions. Virginia Tech did have one upset at 197lbs and 165lber Mehki Lewis was only two points away of sealing the dual for the Hokies.

This 2019-2020 NCSU team is much improved from last year, as seen by their undefeated record of 13-0 (3-0), but does have some similarities to last years team. Their schedule is still fairly average. At the time of the duals, the Wolfpack have wrestled four ranked teams, with only two not ACC programs: #12 Princeton and #15 Cornell, now #21 and #24 respectfully. The other two are #10 Pittsburgh and #8 North Carolina. On the flipside, three of their wins have come against DII programs within the state of North Carolina at the Wolfpack Duals. For the roster, the starters are a dead split between underclassmen and upperclassmen, but is littered with talent. Of these ten wrestlers, five of them are ranked: 141lbs Tariq Wilson (#10), 157lbs Hayden Hidlay (#2), 165lbs Thomas Bullard (#10), 174lbs Daniel Bullard (#18), and 184lbs Trent Hidlay (#3).

Coach: Pat Popolizio

Coach Popolizio, or Coach "Pop", is in his 8th season as the head coach and has improved wrestling's image in the South. Prior to North Carolina State, he was the head coach of Binghamton between 2007-2012 where he brought immediate success. It is safe to say he has done the same for the Wolfpack, having won three ACC Championship titles (2016, 2018, 2019) and coaching seven individual All-Americans; two of these wrestlers would be national champions (heavy weight Nick Gwiazdowski: 2014, 2015 and Michael Macchiavello: 2018). Pat Popolizio's head coaching record is 177-68-2 when combining his tenure at both Binghamton and NC State. He also won the National Coach of the year in 2016.

Popolizio collegiate wrestling career spanned from 1998-2002 at Oklahoma State University. He went to the NCAA tournament three times but was never an All-American and did not win a championship title. There was not any consistent info on his career record.

The Line-Up

125lbs: Jakob Camacho (r-FR, Danbury CT)
Camacho is not ranked at the moment but is very close. The issue is he has four losses and no wins against the current top-25 in his weight class. In his career, he has wrestled four separate Hokies and is 6-1, with his only loss to Sam Latona at the Sourthern Scuffle this year. He did defeat Joey Prata last season, in his first match at the Hokie Open, by major decision. For this season, his record is 16-6 (2-1 ACC) and his career record is 42-8.

133lbs: Jarrett Trombley (r-FR, Owosso MI )
Trombley has faced Collin Gerardi twice before, in the Hokie Open and the Appalachian Open last season. They have split the matches; Trombley winning the first in a 2-1 decision and Gerardi winning the second in a 6-2 decision. This year, his record is 16-7 (1-2 ACC), but his strength of schedule is relatively weak. He has only wrestled two top-20 wrestlers where he lost both bouts. For his career, his record is 37-13.

141lbs: #10 Tariq Wilson (r-JR, Steubenville OH)
Wilson moves up from the 133lbs weight class he has wrestled for the last three years. He has faced Mitch Moore this season at the Cliff Keen Invitational and got very lucky, beating him 5-3 in sudden victory. Against the top-20, he has two wins and two losses. Wilson has been to the NCAA championship tournament twice and earned the All-American in 2018, finishing 3rd. This season his record is 22-4 (3-0 ACC) and is 87-26 in his career.

149lbs: Matt Grippi (r-FR, Bedford Hills NY) OR A.J. Leitten (r-SO, Fort Mill SC)
Grippi is the presumed starter since he wrestled in the most recent dual against UNC. He has appeared in six other duals this season so he is not new to the line-up. He has faced two Hokies in his young career: a 2-1 decision loss to Jake Hart in sudden victory this season and a 14-10 decision win against Caden Darber in 2019. So far, Grippi is 19-7 (0-1 ACC) this season and has a career record of 37-14.

Leitten was the Wolfpack starter going into this season and was his first time in the line up. He has wrestled in six duals as well. It is not clear why he did not wrestle in the last ACC dual. He did sustain an injury in early January at the Southern Scuffle, but has made match appearances since. For 2019-2020, his record is 17-7 (2-0 ACC) and has a career wins-loss of 50-21.

157lbs: #2 Hayden Hidlay (r-JR, Lewistown PA)
Hidlay is the back-to-back ACC champion, a two time NCAA qualifier, and has earned All-American both times; 2nd in 2018 and 4th in 2019. This season he is 24-1 (3-0 ACC) with his only loss is against #1 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. He has defeated seven other top-20 wrestlers in his weight class, including the 4th, 6th, 7th, and 10th ranked wrestler. He did face Brian LaPrade in 2019, winning 6-4. For his career, he is an outstanding 96-9.

165lbs: #10 Thomas Bullard (r-JR, Lawrenceville GA)
The first half of the Bullard twins. Thomas qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2017 and 2019, while taking a redshirt in 2018 to bump up from 157lbs. He has not faced David McFadden, but has lost to Mekhi Lewis thrice. Thomas had a small injury that prevented him from wrestling UNC, but should be back for the dual. If not, expect to see Tyler Barnes. He is 2-3 against the top-15 and 20-5 (2-0 ACC) for the season. His career record is 74-30.

174lbs: #19 Daniel Bullard (r-JR, Lawrenceville GA)
The second half of the Bullard twins. Daniel qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2018 and 2019, while taking a redshirt in 2017 where he wrestled at 165lbs. He lost all four matches against Hokie grapplers, twice to both Hunter Bolen and David McFadden. He is currently 1-2 against the top-20 in his weight class, but his season record is 22-5 (2-1 ACC). His career record stands at 76-35 for North Carolina State University.

184lbs: #3 Trent Hidlay (r-FR, Lewistown PA)
The younger Hidlay for NCSU, who took a redshirt last season at the 174lbs weight class. He has handled the bump well, going 21-2 (3-0 ACC). His losses are against #6 Louie DePrez (Binghamton) in a rematch and #1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State). He does have three wins against the top-10 wrestlers at his weight class. The only Hokie he has wrestled is David McFadden in 2018-2019, where he lost 3-2 in tie breaker. His career record is 45-4.

197lbs: Nick Reenan (r-JR, Dallas TX)
Reenan is the former 184lbs starter that has now moved up to 197lbs. He was at one point ranked, but has not wrestled a complete season due to injury. His 2019-2020 record is 5-5 (0-2 ACC) with four of those losses coming against top-20 opponents. He is not the wrestler he once was. He has qualified for the NCAA tourney twice, in 2017 and 2019. He redshirted in 2018 where he had a season ending injury. His career record is 64-28.

HVY: Deonte Wilson (SO, Amityville NY)
Wilson is the returning starting and the only starting wrestler that has not taken a prep year for North Carolina State University . In 2019 he nearly qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but fell one match short. He is currently 1-2 against the 285lbs top-20 and has a season record of 16-8 (2-1 ACC). His career record 38-20

Match Thoughts

Virginia Tech handled Duke University with ease last Saturday, winning 46-3. Six wrestlers where able to pick up bonus and two matches were forfeited by the Blue Devils. The only match the Hokies lost was on Caden Darber first career dual start at the 165lbs weight class. David McFadden did not start as a precaution and getting some extra rest before this Friday's dual. The 184lbs weight class also saw a fill in with Cody Howard getting his first dual start and win. Hunter Bolen was a healthy scratch as well to prep for his next bout.

Virginia Tech goes into its match against NC State with six ranked wrestlers: #16 Joey Prata (125lbs), #19 Mitch Moore (141lbs), #18 BC LaPrade (157lbs), #6 David McFadden (165lbs), #2 Hunter Bolen (184lbs), and #19 John Borst. There are lots of huge match ups, but going over the Wolfpack roster there are many similarities to the Hokies. Obviously the key match ups to watch are 165lbs and 184lbs. These wins will not only decide ACC seeding, but will have major implication on the top four spots in NCAA tournament. But the toss-ups at the ends of light weights and heavy weights, as well as 149lbs, will decide this match.

Predictions

125: Camacho dec. #16 Prata (0-3 NCSU)
133: Gerardi dec. Trombley (3-3 Tie)
141: #12 T. Wilson dec #18 M. Moore (3-6 NCSU)
149: Andonian dec. Grippi (6-6 Tie)
157: #2 H. Hidlay maj. dec. #19 LaPrade (6-10 NCSU)
165: #6 McFadden dec.#10 T. Bullard (9-10 NCSU)
174: #19 D. Bullard dec. Hughes (9-13 NCSU)
184: #2 Bolen dec. #3 T. Hidlay (12-13 NCSU)
197: Smeltzer dec. Reenan (15-13 VT)
285: D. Wilson dec #19 Borst (15-16 NCSU)

When analyzing the head-to-head ACC matches, Prata and Borst are actually underdogs, even though they are ranked. Though I will say Borst has the best shot between the two of them. I have Gerardi and Andonian winning their matches, as they are both wrestlers with higher upside. The H. Hidlay of 2020 is not the same one in 2019; he's even better. Even if LaPrade gives up bonus points, it won't be a huge factor in the dual. No other bouts are predicted to have a maj. dec or above. Robie's decision to rest McFadden and Bolen was wise, as they both will go through a tough row of matches. I think McFadden's loss to UNC's Kennedy Monday will light a fire inside him. For 184lbs, all I can say its gonna be a battle of titans.... Lastly Smeltzer has a real chance of beating a once great wrestler in Reenan. It is truly a shame to watch him struggle through his injuries, but this doesn't mean its a guarantee win for VT at 197lbs.

Its gonna come down to one match and the home Raleigh crowd will be a factor. Coach Pop teaches his wrestlers to dictate the pace in matches, whether "slow and low" or "fast and high". Watch how they lure opponents and exert pressure at different times. Hopefully the Hokies don't get punked like the last time they were on the ACC Network and provide an entertaining dual. This is the dual that will decide if the Hokies have a chance at the 2020 regular season ACC Champions. With a win, Virginia Tech would be in a three way, co-champion, tie with UNC and NC State.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Wilson won in regular time against MM this year. Mitch was up 3-1 with 10 seconds left in the match and Wilson got a takedown and 2 back points as time expired

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

I can see BA getting a major

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

19-13 Hokies

I might try and make it to this match. I helped shoot an ACCN spot on the Hidlay brothers last month so it will be cool to be on the other side this time.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Leitten gets the start instead of Grippi at 149lbs

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Live stream link be cautious, pop ups and virus on the free stream site

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Let's go! Pin by Andonian to get things started! 6-0

It's Time to go to Work

Lo siento for jacking the thread. I should have just added on to yours

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

No problem. I really appreciate all the work you put in to your previews. I just wanted to get a wrestling thread back on the feed so we can get more Hokies watching.

It's Time to go to Work

MAJOR PIN BY BYRCE!

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Awesome that this is on ACCN.

B.C keeps it to a reg decision, big for the team score.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

What's the score

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

6-6, McFadden dropped another match he should have won.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Dave disappoints every year. He doesn't have a killer instinct and that is why he will never finish higher than 5th at the ncaa's.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

I don't understand why he doesn't wrestle to his strengths. When he gets to his offense he is hard to beat.

It's Time to go to Work

I really haven't seen him work much offense this year. Maybe his cut is harder than he can handle and would rather to work defensively. It doesn't work for him, I would love to see him to go out and try to dominate someone this year. Even against lesser guys, he seems okay with decisions, its passive and it's why he is losing.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

He used to be so fun to watch. For the past 2 seasons it seems like he's lost that excitement. Instead of wrestling for the pure pleasure of beating someone's ass, he's wrestling like he's afraid of losing. I hope he finishes his career strong.

That's a killer. Going to be a lot tougher path to a win now

Hughes drops the decision. Really need Bolen to win.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Bolen gets the W. Big pick-up.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

That was a big win. Really important for seeding at the NCAAs too.

It's Time to go to Work

STAN THE MAN SMELTZER WITH THE 18 SECOND PIN!

It's Time to go to Work

They're still in this!

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Huge pin from Smeltzer!!

I could do without these interviews between matches.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Big fall, 18 seconds?

Brutal loss for Borst in the literal last seconds of the match. Need Prata to do something.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Nc State guy stalled the whole match

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

100% but got the takedown when it mattered.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Prata did well but lost yet again....

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

The nc state guy held his leg the whole 15 seconds at the end but of course no stall call

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

If I had a nickel, everytime I watched a VT wrestler not finish through 7 mins....

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

It's always the usual suspects too. Cost the match ultimately.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

What a let down

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

No kidding. You get great effort from a few guys and then others just lay an egg. Can't just keep losing every toss up and some matches you are favored in.

It's Time to go to Work

That's the match. UGH!

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Wouldn't be a VT team without a huge build up to ultimately let us all down.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

I am so tired of our wrestlers not wrestling to their best level. It's so hit or miss, I would give for consistancy

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Wilson is just going to stall the entire match.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Screwed out that pin! Ugh, they've tapped nearly immediately all night!

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

If mitch pulls a pin i might die of excitement

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

Nc State has the biggest chicken shit program in the acc

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

Man, if McFadden, Borst, and Prata don't lose that's Tech's match to win. They really need to step up their game, especially since two of them are seniors. (I don't think Prata returns next year)

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Latona is gonna give a lot of people hell next year

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

Really excited to see him get a shot coming off of a great redshirt campaign.

It's Time to go to Work

Really hope so, Tech hasn't had a good 125 in a while.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

I was watching his scruffle matches and he's the real deal. He's like a 125 version of Hunter Bolen. always attack really good leg attacks he's just a straight up G

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

Who in the world told Moore to take bottom? That was intensely stupid. You intentionally put a guy who is weak on bottom against a guy who is strong on top when an escape point doesn't improve your chances at all.

It's Time to go to Work

The decision was made for Moore to improve his seeding v Tech taking the match.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

The strategy of turtling on bottom just to hold on to the win and give up the dual is a chicken shit move.

It's Time to go to Work

I don't know, wrestling is an individual sport... He went for the home run in the first and it didn't work out. Going for that again could have backfired so I can't blame him in looking out for his own individual ACCT seeding.

Still a big win over the #10 ranked wrestler who previously beat him.

First top 20 and 10 win this year😃

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

I don't have a problem with playing for the ACC tournament, which is more important than a team win in a duel in my opinion.

Except the actual first criteria is matches won so even with a pin, NC State would have won the duel.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Agreed. I get Wilson is just going to avoid the rest of the match, but being on bottom does nothing but kill time. An escape meant nothing at that point. That being said, it was a great match. I get people are upset, I'm upset, but we had some kids wrestle really hard and others came up short. I'm not trying to make excuses, but there's a lot to look forward to at ACC's. We're a good program and unfortunately they were slightly better tonight. F em.

They weren't the better team tho the ref was the MVP

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis