NC State wrestling NCAA Championship preview

On3 imageby:Brian Reinhardt03/15/23


With a fifth straight ACC Championship won last week, the NC State wrestling team takes the final step in the postseason. The Pack will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to compete at the 2023 NCAA Championships.

The Pack will take nine of its 10 starters, six of whom are seeded in the top-8 (All-American status). Redshirt junior Trent Hidlay is one of the top-three seeds at 184 pounds for the third straight year and will look to become a four-time All-American starting as the No. 2 seed.

Both redshirt sophomore Kai Orine (133 pounds) and sophomore Ryan Jack (141) earned the No. 5 seed in their weight classes, and are among eight of the nine Pack wrestlers looking to earn All-American honors for the first time in their careers.

Session 1 and Session 2 will take place Thursday. Every wrestler will have two matches regardless of outcomes, one in the first session and one in the second.

The Schedule (All times are Eastern)

Thursday, March 16

Session 1 – 12:00 pm (First Round) – ESPNU

Session 2 – 7:00 pm (Second Round & Consolations) – ESPN

Friday, March 17

Session 3 – 12:00 pm (Quarterfinals & Consolations) – ESPNU

Session 4 – 8:00 pm (Semifinals, Blood Round & Consolations) – ESPN

Saturday, March 18

Session 5 – 11:00 am (Medal Rounds) – ESPNU

Session 6 – 7:00 pm (National Finals) – ESPN

TV assignments are listed above, and every bout will be streamed on ESPN+. @NCAAWrestling will provide individual mat links each day.

Stat Geek Central

  • NC State wrestling is one of four schools with nine qualifiers (Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State are the others). Only four schools had all 10 qualify (Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech).
  • For the sixth straight time at the NCAA Championships (not counting 2020 when it was canceled), NC State has sent at least nine wrestlers. The Pack has qualified 56 of its 60 starters over the last six NCAA Championships.
  • A total of 36 times a Pack wrestler has been seeded 16th or better in the 33-man bracket, and 24 times seeded in the top 10.
  • Six of the nine will be returning to the NCAA Championships, while three will be making their debuts (freshman Jackson Arrington at 149 pounds; redshirt junior Alex Faison, at 174; and redshirt sophomore heavyweight Owen Trephan).
  • The returning six have a combined seven previous trips and have gone 17-13, with all six having won at least one match at previous NCAAs.
  • In the entire 330-wrestler field, Trephan is the lone participant from the state of South Carolina. Jack is one of two Connecticut natives, while Faison (North Carolina) and Isaac Trumble (Nebraska) are both one of three from their home states.
  • NC State wrestling has finished in the top-10 in each of the last two NCAA Championships, 10th last year and sixth in 2021. It was only the second time in school history the Pack posted back-to-back top-10 finishes (1992 and 1993). NC State has never had three straight top-10 finishes.
  • The Pack has had at least three All-Americans at each of the last two NCAA Championships (three last year and four in 2021). NC State has never gone three straight years with at least three All-Americans. However, Hidlay is the only returning Wolfpack wrestler to earn All-American status.

NC State Wrestling Thursday Matchups – Sessions 1 & 2

125 (Match No. 17)

No. 20 Jarrett Trombley (NC State – 13-6) vs. No. 13 Dean Peterson (Rutgers – 21-9)

Series history: First career match-up … The two do not have any common opponents all-time.

About the wrestlers: Trombley qualified for the NCAAs for the third time in his career, but his first at 125 pounds for NC State wrestling … Previous two times were at 133 pounds … Seeded No. 27 when it was canceled in 2020 and seeded No. 12 in 2021 … Went 2-2 in 2021 … 2023 ACC champion … Has won six straight matches, last loss was January 6 … Peterson is a redshirt freshman, who went 10-4 in duals … Placed seventh at the Big 10 Championship going 2-2 … Seven of his nine losses this year were to top-10 foes.

InterMat Rankings: Trombley is No. 20 and Peterson is No. 15.

WrestleStat prediction: Trombley 5-4 dec.

Winner faces: No. 4 Matt Ramos (Purdue – 31-4) or No. 29 Nico Provo (Stanford – 21-9)

133 (Match No. 31)

No. 5 Kai Orine (NC State – 15-5) vs. No. 28 Gable Strickland (Lock Haven – 31-9)

Series history: The two faced each other in the dual match-up between the two teams back in November … Orine took a 6-3 decision … Orine is 7-1 vs. common opponents while Strickland is 3-5.

About the wrestlers: Orine will be making his second straight trip to the NCAAs … Went 2-2 as the No. 15 seed last year … 2023 ACC champion and named the tournament MVP after posting a pair of top-10 wins … Has won 10 of his last 11 matches, with only one loss since January. Strickland is a sophomore and making his first trip to the NCAAs … He was the 2023 MAC champion after placing third last year.

InterMat rankings: Orine is No. 9 and Strickland is No. 31.

WrestleStat prediction: Orine 8-3 dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 12 Chris Cannon (Northwestern – 19-8) or No. 21 Chance Rich (Cal State. Bakersfield – 14-8)

141 (Match No. 47)

No. 5 Ryan Jack (NC State – 20-3) vs. No. 28 Saul Ervin (SIUE -18-8)

Series History: First career match-up … Jack is 6-6 vs. common foes, while Ervin is 7-6 … They share three common foes this year, most notably Pitt’s Cole Matthews who defeated Jack twice (4-2, 2-1) and also downed Ervin (4-0).

About the wrestlers: Jack will be making his second straight trip to the NCAAs … Went 2-2 as the No. 18 seed last year … ACC runner-up for the second straight year … All three of his losses this season are to wrestlers seeded fourth or better … Has three top-10 wins this season, and each of his last five matches have been versus ranked foes … Ervin is in his sixth season at SIUE … A two-time NCAA qualifier … Received an at-large bid after placing fourth at the MAC Championship.

InterMat rankings: Jack is No. 5 and Ervin is No. 28.

WrestleStat prediction: Jack 7-3 dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 12 Parker Filius (Purdue – 21-9) or No. 21 Cleveland Belton (Oregon State – 18-8)

149 (Match No. 60)

No. 16 Jackson Arrington (NC State – 20-7) vs. No. 17 Quinn Kinner (Rider – 24-7)

Series history: First career match-up … Arrington is 2-4 against common opponents this season while Kinner is 2-2 … Both lost bouts to No. 4 seed Caleb Henson of Virginia Tech, Arrington 6-1 and 4-2 and Kinner 3-2.

About the wrestlers: Arrington is a first-time NCAA qualifier in his true freshman season … 2023 ACC runner-up … 7-2 in matches since January … Six of his seven losses on the season were to top-10 foes … Kinner, a redshirt junior, was originally an NC State wrestling commit, ended up signing with Ohio State, and later transferred to Rider … Is making his second straight trip to NCAAs … Went 1-2 last year … Placed third at the MAC Championship, after winning the title last year.

InterMat rankings: Arrington is No. 17 and Kinner is No. 27.

WrestleStat prediction: Kinner 5-4 dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell – 16-1) or No. 32 Anthony White (Rutgers – 14-13) or No. 33 Isaiah Delgado (Utah Valley – 15-14)

157 (Match No. 78)

No. 8 Ed Scott (NC State – 18-7) vs. No. 25 Jason Kraisser (Iowa State – 17-13)

Series history: First career match-up … Scott is 7-2 vs. common foes while Kraisser is 9-7 … Most notably, they both faced fellow NCAA qualifier Derek Holschlag of Northern Iowa, Scott pinned him in 18 seconds in a dual and Kraisser fell to him in their dual.

About the wrestlers: Scott is a two-time NCAA qualifier, with back-to-back top-eight seeds … Went 2-2 last year as the No. 4 seed … Placed third at the 2023 ACC Championship … Six of his seven losses are to wrestlers seeded seventh or better … Kraisser is in his second season at Iowa State, after transferring from Campbell … Did not earn an NCAA allocation, but fourth place finish at the Big 12 Championship earned him a bid … Redshirted last year and will be making his first trip to NCAAs.

InterMat rankings: Scott is No. 8 and Kraisser is No. 20

WrestleStat prediction: Scott 13-3 major dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 9 Will Lewan (Michigan – 21-6) or No. 24 Tommy Askey (App State – 29-11)

174 (Match No. 117)

No. 22 Alex Faison (NC State – 16-7) vs. No. 11 Nelson Brands (Iowa – 10-6)

Series history: First career match-up … Faison is 1-1 vs. common foes while Brands is 2-0, although none of Brands’ matchups took place this year.

About the wrestlers: Faison is a first-time NCAA qualifier in his first season as a starter … 2023 ACC runner-up, took No. 3 seed Mekhi Lewis to OT in the final … Went 8-1 in duals and 4-1 in ACC action … Has won nine of his last 12 bouts, and all loses were to ranked foes … For the fifth time over the last six NCAA Championships, NC State has a qualifier from the state of North Carolina. … Brands is the son of assistant Iowa coach Terry Brands and nephew of head coach Tom Brands … Second season at 174, previously was NCAA qualifier at 184 … Placed fifth at the Big 10 Championship.

InterMat rankings: Brands is No. 9 and Faison is No. 20

WrestleStat prediction: Brands 5-4 dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 6 Ethan Smith (Ohio State – 19-6) or No. 27 Tyler Eischens (Stanford -19-8)

184 (Match No. 138)

No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State – 20-1) vs. No. 31 Zayne Lehman (Ohio – 21-10)

Series history: First career match-up … Hidlay is 9-0 vs. common foes while Lehman is 9-6 … Both faced NCAA qualifier Neil Antrassian of UVA this year, Hidlay won 21-9, while Lehman dropped two contests by a combined 21-6.

About the wrestlers: Hidlay is now a four-time NCAA qualifier … Three-time All-American with a combined 8-3 record at his two NCAA trips … Seeded third last year and placed fifth, was the second seed in 2021 and was an NCAA finalist … Won his third straight ACC Championship … Lone loss this season is to No. 1 seed Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa, who he also beat this year. …Lehman is a sophomore making his first trip to the NCAAs … He was the MAC runner-up, having to win a true second place match for the automatic bid (won 9-0).

InterMat rankings: Hidlay is No. 3 and Lehman is No. 32

WrestleStat prediction: Hidlay 13-3 major dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 15 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State – 23-4) or No. 18 Brian Soldano (Rutgers – 22-10)

197 (Match No. 150)

No. 6 Isaac Trumble (NC State – 19-4) vs. No. 27 Nick Stemmet (Stanford – 19-9)

Series History: First career match-up … Trumble is 7-5 vs. common foes, while Stemmet is 2-8 … Both faced second seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly this year, Trumble scored a fall while Stemmet lost a pair of decisions (9-5, 7-6).

About the wrestlers: Trumble is making his second appearance at the NCAAs … He was the No. 15 seed last year and went 1-2 … ACC runner-up for the second straight year … All four of his losses this year were to NCAA qualifiers, including a pair of decisions by a combined three points to top seed Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt … A junior, Stemmet is a two-time NCAA qualifier … Pac 10 runner-up this season, his highest tournament finish at Stanford.

InterMat rankings: Trumble is No. 6 and Stemmet is No. 29

WrestleStat prediction: Trumble 12-4 major dec.

Winner/Loser faces: No. 11 Jaxon Smith (Maryland – 21-6) or No. 22 Michial Foy (Minnesota – 15-10)

285 (Match No. 167)

No. 7 Owen Trephan (NC State – 21-3) vs. No. 26 Cory Day (Binghamton – 18-10)

Series History: The two faced each other in a dual in Reynolds in early January … Trephan took an 11-0 major decision … Trephan is 6-4 vs. common opponents, while Day is 3-4 … They both defeated NCAA qualifier Jonah Niesenbaum of Duke, Trephan 7-2 in the ACC Championship for NC State wrestling and Day 6-0 at the Southern Scuffle.

About the wrestlers: Trephan is an NCAA qualifier in his first season as a starter … 2023 ACC Champion … Has won 10 straight matches and has not lost since early December … All three of his losses were to NCAA qualifiers, No. 1 seed Mason Parris of Michigan and twice to No. 6 seed Yaraslau Slavikouski of Harvard … Day is a redshirt-junior making his first trip to the NCAAS … Placed fifth at EIWA Championship.

InterMat rankings: Trephan is No. 11 and Day is No. 28

WrestleStat prediction: Trephan 7-3

Winner/Loser faces: No. 10 Zach Elam (Missouri – 18-3) or No. 23 Jacob Bullock (Indiana – 21-6)

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