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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 14 UNC wrestling team falls to No. 3 N.C. State, 28-10

Cory Daniel NC State
UNC redshirt senior Cory Daniel takes down NC State's Colin Lawler on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. NC State won the wrestling match 20-14.

The No. 14 North Carolina wrestling team took on No. 3 North Carolina State on Friday, putting on an impressive performance but falling short of the points needed to defeat the reigning ACC champions. UNC showed a fierce fight, but the Wolfpack’s strength could not be tamed, and they ran out of Carmichael Arena with the 28-10 win.

What happened?

Julian Tagg struggled during the 125-pound match against No. 4-ranked Jakob Camacho, losing by a 21-4 technical fall in the first match of the night. In the 133-pound match, No. 11 junior Jaime Hernandez fired back though, securing a win by decision and earning UNC 3 points on the scoreboard. 

Later on in the 157-pound matchup, senior Josh McClure was worn down quickly by his opponent’s strength,  losing to N.C. State’s No. 2 Hayden Hidlay by a technical fall, 20-5. 

In the 165-pound match, No. 8 redshirt senior Kennedy Monday, who usually comes out with explosive energy, finished his first round at a stalemate. He shot back with a last-minute 4-2 takedown win in the third round, bringing UNC to 10 points. 

“I thought Kennedy showed a lot of fight tonight,” head coach Coleman Scott said. “He wrestled in a lot of tough positions and fought until the final whistle.” 

N.C. State No. 11 Daniel Bullard secured three minutes of riding time to finish on top of No. 9 redshirt senior Devin Kane in the 174-pound category. None of UNC’s following wrestlers in the heavier weight classes were able to win their duals. 

Who stood out? 

After UNC dropped the 141-pound category, No. 1 redshirt junior Austin O’Connor, a 2020 ACC Champion, dominated over his opponent in the 149-pound match, gaining a major decision win and bringing his team within one point of N.C. State early on at 8-7. 

Monday also earned an incredible win. Tied at two with just seconds left on the clock, he maneuvered a takedown to win by two points. N.C. State No. 17 first-year Isaac Trumble also proved himself, earning the only pin of the night over redshirt first-year Max Shaw in the 197-pound match. 

When was it decided?

The meet was highly contested and went back and forth as the rounds continued. McClure’s loss earned N.C. State five points and extended their lead to 13-7 right before the 165-pound weight matchup. The Tar Heels pulled momentum back in their direction with Monday’s late takedown win, but could not keep the momentum in their favor, and the remaining four duals of the match were won by the Wolfpack. 

Though topsy-turvy throughout, the match ultimately came down to N.C. State’s offensive power and ability to accumulate points from takedowns, riding time and technical falls.

Why does it matter?

The match presented UNC with the opportunity to wrestle a higher ranked team, giving them practice ahead of their upcoming matches. The team will hope to fix mistakes and learn from the loss moving forward to improve their skills on the mat. 

“I saw a lot of good out of our team tonight, but there’s plenty to improve upon,” Scott said. “We’ll need to regroup quickly, get set and ready to wrestle Virginia Tech tomorrow.”

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels face Virginia Tech, another rival in the top-10 rankings this season, on Saturday, Jan. 30 in Carmichael Arena at 3pm. 

“We need to keep our heads up and keep fighting through,” O’Connor said. “We have a big match tomorrow that will be very important. We have to take the good from tonight and keep moving ahead.”

@nmschroder

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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