I very much look forward to a future article/conversation on this year in Wolfpack sports. Can’t remember a time when everybody just kept winning. Yet, with all the accolades and attention other sports are getting, State’s Women’s Tennis team needs some more love.
Friday morning in Orlando, State takes on #2 Texas for a chance to play in the NCAA National Championship Match. Coming off their 4-2 upset of #3 Georgia, this run is unprecedented for Wolfpack tennis.
The Season at a Glance
State is 20-5 on the season (10-3 ACC), with four of those losses being against ranked opponents. At moments the team was nearly unstoppable, with streaks outscoring opponents 26-2 (4 matches) and 28-5 (5 matches). The team went the distance from week 1 rankings through current, placing in the top-25 in the country.
While singles have been steady, 120-57 overall, it’s their double performances that have stood out as the difference. A .755 winning percentage and 17-9 record against nationally ranked teams is outstanding. The pairing of Jaeda Daniel and Adriana Reami are currently on a 7-match win streak after going 24-5 on the season.
Simon Earnshaw is Wildly Underrated
I wrote a piece in March on “Best Current State Coach”, and it already has an INCREDIBLY GLARING error. I mention Track and Field, Cross Country and Swim, beyond the main debate of Wes Moore and Pat Popolizio. But my God, I need to show some love for Mr. Earnshaw.
May 14, 2014 is a very important day for this program. It’s when Simon Earshaw was brought onboard as the new Women’s Tennis coach. The 2013-14 squad put together a 8-14 (2-12 ACC) record. State had moments of glory but ultimately, the seasons normally ended under .500 and just about dead last in the ACC. Outside of his first year, State has finished above .500 each and every season. The last three?
2019: 18-3 (between WBB and WT, can’t even begin to dream of what the eventual outcome could have been had COVID not f*cked everything up.)
The abbreviated 2019 season still had a bright spot, as Earnshaw was named ACC Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year. In just his seven year run, he has the most wins in program history, most conference win in program history, program’s first All-Americans and now the programs first Final Four birth.
The Wolfpack is matched up against the beasts from Austin, as #2 Texas is their semifinal opponent. Texas is currently 29-1, their lone loss a nail biter against #1 UNC 3-4.
You can follow along with Live Scores of the 11am match or watch live on the TennisONE app.
NC State Athletics Unveils the 2022-23 Wolfie Awards
The NC State Athletics Department gathered at James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum for the 2023 Wolfie Awards on Monday night. The gala showcased the best of Wolfpack Athletics over the past calendar year.
Katelyn Tuohy (women’s cross country/track & field) and Christopher Dunn (football) were honored with the H.C. Kennett Award, which is the highest athletic award at NC State that is given annually to a superior student-athlete who demonstrates the finest attributes of good sportsmanship and team play.
Tuohy, an individual national champion in the cross country 6K, indoor track 5,000-meter and indoor track 3,000-meter, helped lead NC State to its second straight national championship in cross country and its highest final ranking (No. 6) in women’s indoor track & field in program history. Tuohy was named the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and the ACC Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Tuohy set the NCAA record for the indoor 3,000-meter with a time of 8:35.20. She also set the NCAA record for the indoor mile with a time of 4:24.26. She ranked first in the country for the mile, 3K and 5K leading into NCAA Indoors where she claimed two individual national championships.
Christopher Dunn, the winner of the 2022 Lou Groza Place-Kicker Award, became the NCAA career leader in field goals (97) and ended his career ranked second in kick scoring (491 points) after a sensational final season with the Wolfpack. Dunn missed just one kick (28 of 29) the entire season and led the nation in field goals per game.
Dunn owns three of the top four field goal streaks in school history and connected on all 200 of his career PAT attempts – another new school record. He also earned the football team’s Governor’s Award for MVP.
NC State also recognized its All-Americans and Academic All-Americans across all sports, as well as the MVPs for each team. The winners for the Wolfpack’s yearly awards are as follows:
Rookie of the Year
Awarded to a male and female freshman that has had a significant impact on their team’s competitiveness.
- Luca Staeheli, Men’s Tennis: Luca Staheli helped lead NC State to a 20-10 record as a redshirt freshman, finishing with an 18-8 overall record and 6-1 ACC record in singles play. He was also named the ACC Freshman of the Year for his play.
- Priska Nugroho, Women’s Tennis: Priska Nugroho helped lead the Wolfpack to a 26-6 record and an NCAA Elite Eight berth as a true freshman. She was tabbed the program’s first ACC Rookie of the Year after finishing with a 22-6 record in singles in dual-match play. She also finished with a 25-3 record in doubles play.
Comeback Player of the Year
Awarded to the student-athlete who has overcome significant or prolonged injury or illness to provide a major contribution to their team.
- Chloe Negrete, Gymnastics: Chloe Negrete tallied 26 podium finishes, including 14 first-place finishes, in just 36 routines completed in 2023. She was the only gymnast in EAGL ranked in the top five in three separate events in the National Qualifying Score (NQS). Negrete missed the entire 2022 season after rehabbing and recovering from a torn Achilles.
Heart of the Pack Award
Presented to a male and female student-athlete who demonstrates the attributes of being a good teammate, giving great effort, having an exceptional attitude and being mindful of themselves and others.
- Kendall Edwards, Men’s Soccer
- Meredith Robinson, Gymnastics
Kay Yow Award
Presented by the Wolfpack Club to a female student-athlete who exemplifies outstanding academic achievement, athletic achievement, community service and a true spirit of teamwork.
- Chloe Negrete, Gymnastics
Chris Combs Award
Presented by the Wolfpack Club to a male student-athlete who exemplifies Chris Combs through a lifetime love and passion for their sport, great team leader and ability to stay strong through adversity.
- Grant Gibson, Football
ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year
The nominees for this award must be in an ACC sponsored sport and in their last year of athletic competition. The ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year will be awarded to the student-athlete who achieved at the highest level both academically and athletically.
- Gavin Gaynor, Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country
- Allie Hays, Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country
Individual Performance of the Year
Awarded to a male and female student-athlete that had an outstanding performance in a competition.
- Jaeda Daniel & Nell Miller at NCAA Championships, Women’s Tennis: Daniel and Miller secured the first-ever NCAA national championship in program history after winning in straight sets in both the semifinals and finals. The doubles tandem entered the NCAA Championships as the top seed and ran through the draw to become national champions and end their year as the program’s first top-ranked doubles duo.
- 200-yard Medley Relay at NCAA Championships, Men’s Swimming & Diving: The men’s 200-yard medley relay team of Kacper Stokowski, Mason Hunter, Nyls Korstanje and David Curtiss combined to bring home the first-ever national title in the event for NC State. Their finishing time of 1:20.67 marked the first time any team broke the 1:21 barrier, setting NCAA, meet, U.S. Open, ACC and program records.
Team Performance of the Year
Awarded to a team that had an outstanding performance in a competition.
- Wrestling at ACC Championships: The wrestling team won its fifth consecutive ACC championship in dominant fashion, tallying its highest team score (101.5) since 2017. The Pack had individual champions in four different weight classes and four second-place finishers, highlighted by Kai Orine being tabbed the ACC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
- Women’s Cross Country at NCAA Championships: The women’s cross country team capped off a perfect season with its second straight national championship, cruising to victory with a score of 114 points with three runners in the top-15. Katelyn Tuohy placed first overall individually, while head coach Laurie Henes was named the USTFCCCA Coach of the Year.
Pride of the Pack Award
The recipient of this award commits to the four guiding tenets of Trust, Accountability, Passion and Empathy. The student-athlete who receives this award not only embodies these principles themselves, but also commits to upholding these core values for their teammates and other student-athletes to follow.
- Jaiden Thomas, Women’s Soccer
- Jarkel Joiner, Men’s Basketball
Team of the Year
Awarded to a men’s and women’s team that had an outstanding season.
- Men’s Swimming & Diving: The men’s swimming and diving team secured its 32nd ACC team championship title in school history, breaking the record for most points scored at the championship meet. The team has won eight of the past nine ACC titles and finished in fifth place at the 2023 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The Pack won national championship titles in three separate events.
- Women’s Cross Country: The women’s cross country team was ranked No. 1 in the national polls the entire season and finished the season with its second straight national championship. The team had four total All-Americans.
Awarded to the men’s and women’s teams with the highest GPA in the previous spring and fall that had an outstanding performance in a competition.
- Women’s Cross Country
- Men’s Tennis
Caterpillar Top Scholars Awards
Recognizes those student-athletes with the highest GPAs.
- Jerome Williams, Football
- Shruthi Anand, Gymnastics
- Chloe Negrete, Gymnastics
- Natalie Armbruester, Women’s Golf
- Katelyn Cook, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Maddy Flickinger, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Faith Hefner, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Yara Hierath, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Mary O’Neill, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Abby Pilkenton, Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Jenna Schulz, Women’s Track & Field
- Shannon Sefton, Women’s Track & Field
- Carolina Lewis, Women’s Track & Field
- Hannah Wander, Volleyball
ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips Sticks up for NC State at ACC Tipoff
The ACC Tipoff has been going on in Charlotte the past two days, and to kick things off, Commissioner Jim Phillips spoke about a variety of topics, but on two occasions he went out of his way to go to bat for NC State.
When talking about how well the ACC did in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, Philips went out of his way to address the fact that #2 seed NC State had to play #1 UCONN in the Elite Eight…in Connecticut.
“Two of our eight teams last year were No. 1 seeds, four advanced to the Sweet 16, and we were the only conference to have at least three teams in the regional semifinals in each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments. Louisville and NC State each reached the Elite 8, and Louisville advanced to the Final Four.
I won’t say anything about where they sent NC State either this morning.”
At another point, he was addressing the need to expand the NCAA Tournaments, and he specifically spoke to the fact that the Wolfpack Baseball team was snubbed last year, being left out.
“But baseball, I certainly felt like we had several teams that should have gotten in, and in baseball, the team that the committee indicated was the last team in won the National Championship.
I look at NC State in that example where they deserved to be in.”
WPN’s Guide to the Duke-UNC Game
What a Year for NC State Athletics
First and foremost, this video got the goosebumps bumpin’…
This year we shook hands with adversity, played with the cards we were dealt and fought together until the end. We are the NC State Wolfpack. This is a look back at some of the top sports moments of 2021 🐺 #StrengthInThePack pic.twitter.com/EJnREZ7b0A
— NC State Athletics (@PackAthletics) December 30, 2021
There’s a lot to be thankful for in WPN this last year.
Women’s Basketball – Not much more you can ask for…back-to-back ACC Championships, while being top-5 for over two years straight. The players are beyond fun to watch and their coach has rapidly become a legendary figure (who also puts out a solid stream of perfect one-liners). All the Reynolds upgrades are something else, and to have this success as a tenant is a dream that reminds folks of the Jimmy V era.
Wrestling – Speaking of Reynold tenants…Wrestling is doing something that not many people fully understand. The sport has been SO heavily dominated by Big Ten and Ivy League schools. Other than the occasional OK State run, the trophy lives steadily in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. But things are changing in Raleigh. Recruiting classes have been off the chart, and this year’s squad -from top to bottom – is nothing short of spectacular.
Women’s Cross Country – Always a steady performer, State broke out this Fall. Wins the ACC, Regional and National Championship. The first team national championship since 1983 Cardiac Pack. And the scores weren’t close. The team consistently had a majority of scoring in top-25, top-15 and a wide margin of victory.
Women’s Soccer – Five straight seasons of NCAA Tournament appearances. The also had half a dozen games were they lost to a ranked opponent in literally the final minutes of games. Stellar keeper and steady scoring shows that State program is heading in the right direction and not far from making a BIG jump.
Football – State has at least nine wins in three of the last five seasons. In contention for ACC into the Thanksgiving weekend is something that WPN has been waiting for. Leary and Gill should have far more recognition than they are getting. Tony Gibson not being listed as a semi-finalist of NCAA assistant coaches is a crime. Yet we got to see Ickey play big boy football, while Emezie and Dunn are setting school records. Great comeback against UNC, 10*-3 season.
Swim – Nationally ranked recruiting and national meet podiums. We are very, very close from seeing a number of swimmers, from both men’s and women’s teams, will be in the running for Olympic teams. The program has always been a force, but there aren’t many weaknesses when you look at the full squad.
W Tennis – Got hot and made it all the way to the Final Four. The duo of Anna Rogers and Alana Smith just kept winning. Furthermore, they added great recruits and transfers to make another run again soon.
Baseball – For many of us at PI, we agree…there has been such a ride we’ve maybe ever experienced. To think about the season being lost, then to make the run they had to what SHOULD HAVE BEEN, at the very least, a national championship appearance, is just goosebump worthy. Couldn’t open Twitter or watch TV without seeing talk of State. Can’t wait for Boo to totally not go against his word and build/remodel a ballpark to accommodate a team that should be making runs on a yearly basis.
There are plenty of coaches, players and superfans that should be mentioned. We type this with a warm feeling in our heart. To everybody in WPN, from Raleigh and abroad, thanks for reading our articles and hope you all enjoyed the ride as much as we have.