Sunday, September 26, 2021

2022: The Preseason: North Carolina State Wolfpack

 Good year for Popolizio and the pack.  Should send all 10 weight classes to the NCAA tournament, although albeit a few pose question.  Deeper in a few weight classes than some would expect and I think wrestle-offs should be interesting. 

Jacob Camacho
Record: 56-12
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'R12
ACC: 20'1st, 21'2nd
SOUTHERN SCUFFLE: 19'3rd, 20'R12

Camacho ended the season one match shy of All American honors.  I think with a bit more consistency he could end up top 8 this year. Easier said than done as the weight class is every bit as loaded as it was in 2021. Normally such a wrestler would have the benefit of graduation. Not the case this season. Should in the very least by top 12 again. 

Ryan Jack
Record: 7-3 

Brother Kevin was a three time All American for the Wolfpack and I know that doesn't always mean anything. Nevertheless not saying I expect the moon out of Ryan this season, but I do think he'll pull his own weight. Top 33? NCAA qualification? I think so. 

Jarrett Trombley OR Kai Orrine
Sophomore OR Freshman 
Record: 51-21 OR Record: 26-7
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ OR
ACC: 20'4th, 21'4th OR

Almost positive that Trombley will be the starter once again for the Wolfpack. He already owns an 8-4 victory over Orrine and I think while the two may split some time this year, he'll be the starter come the ACC tournament.  With that said, Orrine has more than proven himself a great asset to the team.  He's already pinned PAC-12 champ Devan Turner of Oregon State as well as Chance Rich of Cal State Bakersfield. Another impressive win, 8-5 over Navy's Casey Cobb.   

As to Trombley, I wouldn't rule out All American honors. I mean he does have a 4-2 victory over All American Louie Hayes of Virginia but I wouldn't count on it either.  He'll definitely qualify for his third NCAA appearance  and I think he'll win a match or two.  Don't see much beyond that. 

Tariq Wilson OR Hunter Lewis
Senior OR Freshman 
Record: 103-29 OR Record: 6-1 
NCAA: 18'3rd, 19'R12, 20'NQ*, 21'3rd
ACC: 18'4th, 19'2nd, 20'2nd, 21'1st
RENO: 18'2nd
CKLV: 20'7th

Again no question in my mind, the starter here is Wilson. I will say though that when Lewis takes over next season or if he wrestles at the Scuffle/other competitions this year, watch out.  In the 6 matches he won last season, all were by fall. The one that stuck out most was sticking SOCON champ Jonathan Millner of Appalachian State.  

With that said, it's hard to say what Wilson will do.  He's already proven himself at 133 and at 141 and now he's at 149.  The one thing I can say is that if you look up the term "tournament wrestler" you'll find his name and his picture.  Both times he captured 3rd place at the NCAA tournament, he didn't just squeak by with 1 and 2 point matches. He completely dominated. I mean the guy beat Sebastian Rivera 15-5 last year! Who does that!?!? Can he do the same at 149?  I don't see him beating Diakomihalis or Sasso, but other than that?  And here's the thing, we might not know until it happens. Although he was the #4 seed last year, he was unseeded when he took 3rd as a freshman. 

Ed Scott
Record: 6-6 
ACC: 21'4th 

I said there were questions in the lineup and I think Ed Scott is one of them.  He was one match shy of NCAA qualification with a 4th place finish at the ACC's last season.  He lost 10-5 to Josh Finesilver, R12 wrestler of Duke, whom he beat 12-6 earlier in the season. I'd like to think that Scott makes out a top 33 wrestler this year and gets to the show, but I'm not 100% of it. 

Thomas Bullard
Record: 84-38
NCAA: 17'NQ, 19'NQ, 20'NQ, 21'NQ
ACC: 17'WC, 19'2nd, 20'3rd, 21'3rd
CKLV: 20'3rd 

He's do. Not saying it's a shoe-in or that it'll be easy, but there's no reason to think that Thomas Bullard can't All American this year.  He has the tools and prior results are on his side. He owns two victories over NCAA runner-up Jake Wentzel of Pittsburgh, having defeated the Panther 4-3 and 4-1.  He also has a 2-1 victory over three time All American David McFadden and he stuck upper ranked Ethan Smith of Ohio State at the 6:23 mark.  Where it sits right now, I think NCST is just shy of a top 4 team trophy. If they're to get over that hump, they'll need Bullard on the award stand. 

Hayden Hidlay
Record: 133-11
NCAA: 18'2nd, 19'4th, 20'NQ*, 21'5th 
ACC: 18'1st, 19'1st, 20'1st, 21'1st
RENO: 18'1st
CKLV: 20'2nd 

Hidlay has spent his entire career at 157 lbs and now he moves up two weight classes to 174.  What to make of this?  For one, it's amazing that he has an opportunity to be a five time ACC champion. That in itself is absolutely amazing. Then again, if he wants to accomplish that, he'll have to get through Virginia Tech's Mekhi Lewis.  Now, can Hidlay contend for the national title? I don't think I'm being unfair by asking to see him in action against Iowa's Mike Kemerer, Penn State's Carter Starocci, Nebraska's Mikey Labriola and/or Michigan's Logan Massa before I can give a fair answer to that question.  As of right now, all I can predict is that he'll be on the award stand. Top 5 for sure. Ask me again come the first of February. 

Trent Hidlay 
Record: 57-8
NCAA: 20'NQ*, 21'2nd
ACC: 20'2nd, 21'1st 
SOUTHERN SCUFFLE: 19'4th, 20'2nd
CKLV: 20'2nd 

NCST's best best for an individual champion lies in Trent Hidlay.  Among those in contention with him, he'll also fight Hunter Bolen of Virginia Tech who he went 1-1 with last season for the ACC title. I see him at best NCAA champion and at worst 3rd or 4th.

Nick Reenan OR Isaac Trumble
Senior or Freshman
Record: 71-33 OR Record: 6-1  
NCAA: 17'NQ, 19'NQ, 21'NQ OR 
ACC: 17'WC, 19'3rd, 21'4th OR 
SOUTHERN SCUFFLE: 18'4th, 20'8th 

It's not often you see a freshman upend a senior for varsity status, but I think that could be the case this season at 197 lbs for the Wolfpack. Last season Reenan lost to Max Shaw of North Carolina 5-3, Trumble pinned Shaw in 4:59.  Reenan dropped an 8-2 decision to Pittsburgh's NCAA runner-up Nino Bonaccorsi. Trumble defeated him 6-1. These results speak for themselves and I wouldn't be surprised to see Trumble take the starting position. It's always hard to say where a freshman will end up, especially one with only 7 matches under his belt. Yet defeating an NCAA runner-up is about all the proof one needs isn't it? Gonna call it top 8 for now, but might call it higher as the season progresses. 

Deonte Wilson
Record: 51-23
NCAA: 20'NQ, 21'NQ
ACC: 19'4th, 20'2nd, 21'1st 

A top 25, maybe 15,  could possibly see 12 wrestler.  Don't see him AA'ing this season but think he'll be a valuable asset in duals.

125- R12 to low AA finish 
133 - NQ
141 - NQ
149 - 3rd
157 - NQ
165 - Low to Mid AA finish
174 - As good as champ, no lower than 5th
184 - As good as champ, no lower than 3rd/4th
197 - AA, not sure where yet

Sending all 10 to Nationals is most certainly a can do, and I think as many as 6 All Americans with 2 of them contending for individual NCAA titles. 

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