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RELEASE: NC State Wrestling Posts Second-Highest NCAA Finish Ever

March 20, 2021

ST. LOUIS, MO. – Behind a program-tying four All-Americans, the NC State wrestling team came home with a sixth place finish at the 2021 NCAA Championships held in St. Louis this weekend.

The sixth place finish marked the second-best finish in school history, the sixth top-10 finish in school history overall, and the second top-10 finish in the last three NCAA Championships (school-best fourth in 2018) for NC State.

The Pack has now had 16 All-Americans in Pat Popolizio’s seven NCAA Championships appearances (not counting the six last year announced by the NWCA after the cancellation of the 2020 NCAAs).

R-So. Trent Hidlay (184 pounds) was an NCAA Finalist at his first NCAA Championships. R-Sr. Tariq Wilson (141) finished third for the second time in his career. R-Sr. Hayden Hidlay (157) became the Pack’s first-ever four-time All-American as he placed fifth. In his final collegiate match, R-Sr. Daniel Bullard (174) earned All-American honors for the first time in his career as he took seventh.


184 | ##1 seed Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. 2 seed Trent Hidlay – 3-2

After a scoreless first, Hidlay started the second on top, but Brooks scores a reversal and after a Hidlay escape it was 2-1 going into the third. Hidlay started the third down, and escaped to even it 2-2 with 1:45 left. The decisive point came on Hidlay’s second stall call with 45 seconds left.

The Pack started the final day with three wrestlers in the Medal Round, with four of the Pack’s five matches earning bonus points for the team score for NC State.


141 | #4 seed Tariq Wilson major dec. #3 seed Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) – 15-5

Wilson closed out his NCAA run with back-to-back bonus points in the Medal Rounds, and in the process brought home a third place finish for the second time in his career (2018). Against Riveria of Rutgers, Wilson started with a first-period takedown then got four near fall points and jumped out to a 6-0 after the first with 2:39 of ride time. Wilson then added three more takedowns, and 3:49 of RT overall, for the 15-5 major decision to close out his season.


157 | #2 seed Hayden Hidlay major dec. #6 seed Brayton Lee (Minnesota) – 11-2

Hidlay also scored bonus points in his placemen bout, as an 11-2 major decision, with 3:16 of ride time, gave Hidlay a fifth place finish. Hidlay started the first with a takedown and four-point near fall to grab a quick 6-0 lead. He went on to add a takedown in the third.


174 | #8 seed Daniel Bullard vs. #26 seed Jackson Turley (Rutgers)

In his final collegiate tournament, Bullard earned All-American honors for the first time at the NCAA Championships. Turley injury defaulted last night and did not weigh in, so Bullard got his hand raised in his final bout and finishes seventh.


125 | #4 seed Tariq Wilson major dec. #8 seed Chad Red (Nebraska) – 12-1

157 | #11 seed Jacori Teemer (Arizona State) dec. #2 seed Hayden Hidlay – 18-12

Wilson started the Pack’s Medal Round with bonus points, scoring a 12-1 major decision over Nebraska’s Red. Wilson scored a pair of takedowns, and a pair of injury time points, to jump out to a 6-0 lead in the first. He would add two more takedowns, and finished with 4:07 of ride time.

Hayden suffered a loss in his first match of the day, as Teemer of Arizona State scored a pair of six-point moves in the first and jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Hidlay cut into the lead in the final two periods, but fell 18-12.

Tags: wrestling
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RELEASE: NC State Wrestling Posts Second-Highest NCAA Finish Ever

943 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Wolfer79
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is this good news? For some reason I thought we were supposed to do better. Regardless, Go Pack!
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.@PackWrestle took 6th place at NCAAs, the program's second-best finish in history.

Four Wolfpack wrestlers earned All-American honors: Trent Hidlay (2nd at 184), Tariq Wilson (3rd), Hayden Hidlay (5th) and Daniel Bullard (7th).
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The wrestling team's results were a good news, bad news story this year. A top six finish and having four all-Americans are both great results for the team. However, the program entered the national tournament with much higher expectations and I believe Coach Popolizio would agree there is some disappointment with the final placing.

After winning the ACC championship for the third straight year and having several wrestlers ranked in the top 5 and top 10, the State wrestling team had expectations of finishing with a team trophy (top 4 finisher) this year. State's top two finishers, Trent Hidlay (second overall) and Tariq Wilson (3rd overall) had a very good tournament, with both earning all-American in the process.

Hidlay lost an extremely tight championship match against Aaron Brooks of Penn State, losing the match 3-2. The match, like several of State's matches in the tournament was not without controversy. At the 21 second mark of the third round, Brooks could be seen grabbing the mat as Hidlay attempted to drag him back into the mat's center. This should move should have resulted in a point being awarded to Hidlay, tying the match at 3-3, but after a review, no point was awarded. Here's a screenshot of the mat grab:

In my opinion, Tariq Wilson had a very good tournament. I am sure he is disappointed with his third place finish, but he ended the tournament with only one loss and had a couple of dominating performances in his last two events. He ended the tournament as a three time All-American.

Wilson lost in the semifinals to Jaydin Eierman of Iowa in a Fall in the first round, at the 2 minute and 59 second mark of the round. Like the Hidlay match, the match was not without some controversy. Many watching the match do not believe a pin was achieved by the Iowa wrestler. I have linked the video below, so you can see the match for yourself. It is difficult to see on the video and the referee did have the best view.

Wilson was able to shake off the loss to Eierman and came back with two big performances in the Consolation round. In his last match, Wilson took third place in a dominating performance, beating Rutgers' Sebastian Rivera, by a score of 15-5.

The third wrestler to earn All-American honors was fifth-year senior Daniel Bullard. Bullard ended up finishing in seventh place overall at the 174-pound weight class. Bullard was very good all year and actually improved throughout the year, earning an ACC Championship, before heading to Nationals.

Last, but not least is Hayden Hidlay, the first wrestler at State to earn four All-American honors while wrestling at NC State. State has had one other wrestler achieve this honor, two-time national champion Nick Gwiazdowski, but he won three All-American awards at State and his first one at Binghamton. Despite earning his fourth All-American award, Hayden, by all accounts, had a disappointing tournament. He entered the national tournament seeded second, but ended the tournament in fifth place overall.

Hayden has been dominant all year and over his entire career. He ended this year with a perfect record in all of his ACC matches and won most of his matches in convincing fashion. He entered the national tournament with a career 87-6 record, having just won his fourth ACC championship. To say he is one of the greatest wrestlers in NC State history would be an understatement.

Hayden lost his semi-final match to David Carr of Iowa State by a score of 6-4. It appeared to me that Hayden struggled with the Iowa State wrestler's length (something Tariq Wilson uses to his advantage in his matches) throughout the entire match. Interestingly, Carr's father is a former national champion at Iowa State. In the match, Hayden fell behind early at 2-0 and dug an even deeper hole, going down 5-1. Hayden was able to score some points in the final minute, but ran out of time to accumulate more points.

In sports, you always hear that you can not let one loss beat you a second time, but this is exactly what happened to Hayden. After his devastating loss to Carr, he had to come back later and wrestle again in the Consolation rounds, knowing he had no chance to win a national championship in his fourth year of competition. In his first consolation round match, he lost 18-12 to Jacori Teemer of Arizona State. Hayden went down 14-3 at the end of the first period and he was never able to recover. In Hayden's fifth place match, he was able to major decision Minnesota's Brayton Lee by a score of 11-2. The major decision did help State's team earn some additional match points.

I have included video links to Trent Hilday's final match and Tariq Wilson's match versus Jaydin Eierman below:

Trend Hilday vs Aaron Brooks:

Tariq Wilson vs Jaydin Eierman:
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The Decision v2021

What's next for Hayden Hidlay? Find out on a brand new #PackMentality Pop-Ins Podcast ... coming out Wednesday at 2 PM.

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