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Three from NC State with Top-10 Seeds for NCAA Championships

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RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State wrestling team is sending nine wrestlers to the 2019 NCAA Championships next week, and three received top-10 seeds with all nine seeded 23rd or better as the NCAA announced the brackets.

In the 10 weight classes, all 33 wrestlers were seeded for the first time this year.

Returning NCAA finalist R-So. Hayden Hidlay leads the way for the Pack, as he is the No. 5 seed at 157 pounds. Fellow R-So. Nick Reenan is the No. 7 seed at 184 pounds, while graduate student Justin Oliver is the No. 9 seed at 149 pounds (the third time in his career he enters ranked ninth).

In addition to Oliver competing in his fourth NCAAs, R-Sr. Sean Fausz will also be returning for one final time, and is No. 15 at 125 pounds.

Retuning All-American, R-So. Tariq Wilson is the No. 11 seed at 133 pounds.

2019 ACC Champions, R-Sr. Jamel Morris was No. 14 at 141 pounds while classmate Malik McDonald was No. 13 at 197 pounds.

Rounding out the Pack’s lineup, R-So. Thomas Bullard is No. 16 at 165 pounds, while twin brother Daniel is No. 23 at 174 pounds.

NC State Wrestling

NC State’s Popolizio Named National Coach of the Year Finalist

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RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second straight season, NC State wrestling coach Pat Popolizio has been named a finalist for the 2019 NWCA Division I National Coach of the Year presented by Defense Soap.

For the first time since the 2014 campaign, NC State won both the ACC regular season title and then the ACC Championship, with three individual conference champions for the second straight year.

This year’s finalists include:

ACC:  Pat Popolizio (NC State)

Big Ten: Cael Sanderson (Penn State)

Big 12: Kevin Dresser (Iowa State)

EWL: Scott Moore (Lock Haven)

EIWA: Kevin Ward (Army West Point)

MAC: John Stutzman (Buffalo)

Pac 12: Jason Borrelli (Stanford)

SoCon:   Cary Kolat (Campbell)

The National winner will be announced at the NWCA Coaches Social on Tuesday, March 19. The winner will be determined by a vote of all NWCA Division I Member Coaches.

The National Coach of the Year award presented by Defense Soap is in its second year of existence and is intended to honor the coach who has had the most outstanding season up to the NCAA Championship which includes dual meet success and conference tournament placement.

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NC State Wrestling Qualifies Nine for 2019 NCAA Championships

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RALEIGH, N.C. – The 2019 ACC Champion NC State wrestling team will be sending nine of its 10 starters to next week’s 2019 NCAA Championships as announced by the NCAA this afternoon. National seeds and brackets will be announced tomorrow at 6 p.m., and the 2019 NCAA Championships take place in Pittsburgh March 21-23.

For the second straight season, NC State posted a school-record nine automatic qualifiers based off their finishes at this past weekend’s ACC Championship, which saw the Wolfpack take top team honors.

Eight of the Pack’s nine NCAA participants this season will be making a return trip to the NCAA Championships, including three who have already collected All-American honors.

NC State will be led by a pack of five redshirt-sophomores. Hayden Hidlay (157 pounds) was an NCAA Finalist last year in his first trip to the NCAAs, while Tariq Wilson (133) went from unseeded to third place last year as well. In addition, classmates Thomas Bullard (165), Daniel Bullard (174) and Nick Reenan (184) will all be making their second trips.

Three additional members of the Wolfpack will be making their final appearances in the NCAA Championships here in their final seasons. Sean Fausz (125) will be returning to the NCAAs for the fourth time in his career, along with Justin Oliver (149), but his first with the Pack after reaching the NCAAs three times with Central Michigan. 2019 ACC Champion Malik McDonald (197) will be making his second trip, first since 2017.

R-Sr. Jamel Morris, the 2019 ACC Champion at 141 pounds, qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career, in his final season.

Over the last four seasons, NC State has qualified 36 of the possible 40 starters.

 

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ACC Gold for NC State Wrestling at 2019 ACC Championship

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BLACKSBURG, VA. – By placing six of its 10 wrestlers into the ACC Finals, and claiming three individual titles, the NC State wrestling team won the 2019 ACC Championship held in Blacksburg Saturday night.

R-So. Hayden Hidlay (157 pounds) won his second straight ACC title, R-Sr. Jamel Morris (141) captured ACC gold in his first ACC Championship, and fellow R-Sr. Malik McDonald (197) capped his career with his first ACC title. In addition, Sean Fausz (125), Tariq Wilson (133), and Thomas Bullard (165) all claimed second place finishes.

In all, 9 of the 10 Wolfpack wrestlers finished third or better (the 10th placed fourth), and all nine of of those top-three finishers qualified for the NCAA Championships by claiming an automatic bid.

NC State won the team race with 93.5 points. Host Virginia Tech was second with 86 points, North Carolina third (47.5), Pitt fourth (41), Duke fifth (39), and Virginia sixth (27.5).

The ACC Championship is the second for head coach Pat Popolizio since 2016. NC State has also claimed the ACC Dual Championship each of the past two seasons.

FINALS RECAP

NC State placed six into the ACC Finals, with all six also claiming an NCAA allocation at their weight.

R-Sr. Jamel Morris brought home the Pack’s first ACC title of the night, in his first ACC Champion appearance. Entering as the top seed at 141 pounds with a perfect 4-0 dual record, Morris went 2-0 on the day. In the finals vs. Virginia Tech’s Moore, Morris scored a takedown and a two-point near fall to jump out to an early lead and won 6-2.

R-So. Hayden Hidlay defending his ACC title and brought home the championship once again at 157 pounds.

Also claimed in first ACC Championship in his final campaign, R-Sr. Malik McDonald socred wins over a pair of top-11 wrestlers and won the 197-pound title. In the finals, McDonald scored a 13-6 decision over top seeded and #7 ranked Aiello of Virginia.

R-Sr. Sean Fausz reached the ACC Finals for the fourth consecutive year, but fell to #5 Mueller of Virginia 10-2 at 125 pounds.

R-So. Tariq Wilson reached the ACC finals for the first time in his career, but fell to #5 Phillippi of Pitt 4-1 at 133 pounds.

A third member of the Pack advanced to the ACC Finals for the first time, R-So. Thomas Bullard at 165 pounds. He fell in the title bout to #8 Lewis of Virginia Tech 7-4, but limiting Lewis to just a decision clinched the team title for the Wolfpack.

CONSOLATION FINALS RECAP

NC State won three of its four third place bouts, picking up an additional NCAA allocation.

Gr. Justin Oliver scored a big head-to-head win over Virginia Tech, downing Blees thanks to a takedown in the second and two-point near fall in the third for the 6-1 win.

With only three NCAA allocations at 174, R-So. Daniel Bullard secured a bid to NCAAs for the second year in a row with an 18-3 tech fall over UNC’s Kane.

R-So. Nick Reenan also captured third place, after he downed returning All-American Chip Ness from UNC 12-8.

Fr. Deonte Wilson placed fourth in his first trip to the ACC Championships, and fell one win short of advancing to the NCAAs.

CONSOLATION SEMIFINALS RECAP

All four Wolfpack wrestlers that wrestled in this round won, and advanced to their third place bouts, with two earning NCAA bids.

Oliver was the first to punch his ticket to the NCAAs in this round, as he scored an 11-3 major decision to advance to the third place bout.

Daniel Bullard avenged a regular season loss and scored an 8-2 win (with 3:33 of RT).

Reenan was an offensive machine and his match ended early with a 21-6 tech fall, as he also advanced to the NCAAs with the win.

Wilson picked up his second win of the day, a dominating 9-0 major decision at heavyweight.

SEMIFINALS RECAP

NC State had all 10 wrestlers advance to the semifinals, and six won and advanced to the ACC Finals. In doing so, all six earned an automatic NCAA bid.

All with a first round bye, Fausz (125), Wilson (133) and Morris (141) all recorded takedowns in the first 10 seconds of their opening bouts.

Fausz scored four takedowns, two in the first, and collected a 10-1 major decision. Wilson used a reversal and a takedown in the third to seal his 7-4 win. Morris was up 5-0 in takedowns and hung on for the 14-11 win.

Hidlay made short work of his first opponent, as his bout ended in the second period with a 16-0 tech fall win. Hidlay scored a first period takedown, then a pair of two-point near falls followed by two four-point near falls.

The Pack’s two other semifinal winners both avenged regular season losses. Thomas Bullard (174) scored a four-point near fall in the third period to score a 7-1 win over Virginia’s Coy. McDonald (197) forced a stall call with seven seconds left and downed Virginia Tech’s Sleigh 3-2.

FIRST ROUND RECAP

The Wolfpack went a perfect six-for-six in the first round, with its first three wins of the day all by major decision.

Oliver started the Pack’s day with a 12-0 major decision. Oliver scored a first period takedown and added a four-point near fall to build an early 6-0 lead.

Both Bullard’s opened with dominating major decisions. Daniel won 9-1 (with 5:32 of RT) at 165, and Daniel followed 11-1 (with 3:41) of RT at 174.

Reenan had the most exciting win of the first round to advance 11-8. With the score tied 7-7 and UVA with the RT point locked, Reenan scored a takedown and a two-point near fall in the final three seconds.

McDonald was clinical with a 4-0 decision at 197 pounds, and Wilson capped the first round with a pair of takedowns in his 8-3 decision.

UP NEXT

NC State concludes its season with a trip up to Pittsburgh for the 2019 NCAA Championships March 21-23.

Photo Credit: @PackWrestle

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NC State Wrestling Finishes #10 in Final NWCA Coaches’ Poll

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RALEIGH, N.C. – With the dual season now complete, the NC State Wolfpack was ranked No. 10 nationally in the final NWCA Coaches’ Poll of the season.

NC State was ranked in the top-10 in all 16 polls this season, and dating back over the last four seasons, NC State has appeared in the top-10 in 57 straight polls overall.

NC State has now finished in the top-10 in the final Coaches’ Poll for the fourth straight season. NC State went 16-3 overall in 2018-19, and tied atop the ACC standings with a 4-1 mark.

The Wolfpack won back-to-back ACC regular season titles for the first time since 2001-02.

NC State closed out the regular season with road wins at #13 North Carolina (20-14) and at #14 Virginia Tech (17-16), and was 6-3 vs. ranked foes this season.

The Wolfpack returns to action on Saturday, March 9, traveling to Blacksburg, Va., for the 2019 ACC Championship.

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