Super excited for this dual. It goes down at 7:30 EST on Friday night. This is effectively the ACC Dual Championship.
NC State has a shot at making the podium this season, and VT made the podium for the first time 2 years ago. The ACC is better than it has ever been and this is due largely to these two teams (and a few others that are on the way up!)
NC State hasn't won a dual vs VT since 07-08, but are currently ranked ahead of them
Fausz vs Nordstrem
Both have sat out quite a bit this season, but hopefully both are able to go on Friday night.
Fausz is a clear favorite here. Nordstrem has a few solid wins this season, but Fausz is currently ranked top 5. Fausz doesn't tend to score a lot of bonus, so I'll go him by decision. 3-0 NC State.
Wilson vs. Gustofson
Both guys are ranked in the 15-20 range, depending on the ranking services. Both have some solid wins and some questionable losses. Both have an outside chance of making the podium. Wilson's signature win is over Jack Mueller, which is incredible impressive. Wilson by close dec: 6-0 NC State
Jack vs Moore
Jack's only loss was a close match to Merideth, and they have had quite a few matches and been back and forth for years. Jack is a title contender and holds impressive wins this season, including one over Dean Heil. Moore was a high level recruit who at first looked to not be panning out, but he was able to turn it around and is now a borderline top 20 guy. Jack almost never takes bad losses and is just on another level. I think bonus is possible here. 10-0 NC State
Danahue vs Blees
Both guys are ranked in the 10-15 range! Blees was a high level recruit who looks to be hitting his stride. Donahue is outperforming expectations. This is a toss up. Blees has had some excellent wins recently, including over over Heilman. I'm going Blees by decision. VT finally gets on the board - 10-3 NC State
Hidlay vs Chisko
Hidlay is undefeated and currently ranked 3rd overall. Chisko is a 2 time AA at 149 but is coming off of injury and has looked terrible at 157 so far, taking losses to guys he should not be losing to. I have faith that he will be an AA contender at NCAAs, but there is no way I can rationally pick him. I have been high on Hidlay (and have taken some flack for it). He is a dark horse title contender, especially with Nolf maybe sitting out. Hidlay tends to major people and Chisko has looked terrible. Hidlay MD and makes a statement that he is ready to fight for a title in his freshman season 14-3 NC State
Hamann vs McFadden
Hamann is a solid wrestler, but doesn't have any signature wins. He has a chance at qualifying for NCAAs, but if so, will likely go 0-2. McFadden AAd as a true freshman, redshirted last year, and has gone undefeated since. He has had competitive matches (mostly in freestyle) vs Marinelli, who is now ranked 2nd in the country. McFadden is also training daily with Molinaro and has improved tremendously this season. He would be talked about as a serious title contender if 165 wasn't so stacked. He may be able to pull it off. This might be the biggest mismatch of the dual. McFadden by pin 14-9 NC State.
Bullard vs Bolen
Bullard was 43rd on the big board and redshirted last year. He is a borderline top 20 guy with some good wins, but isn't competitive with the top tier of the weight class. Hunter Bolen improved tremendously this season and just had a signature MD of Ethan Ramos. This one is a toss up! Both are likely NCAA qualifiers. I'm going Bullard by Dec in a close one 17-9 NC State
Renda vs Zavatsky
Renda placed 3rd in 2016 and redshirted last year. He is undefeated on the season. Zavatsky is a consistent top 10 guy, but hasn't managed to make the podium. Zavatsky is 2-1 vs Renda, but they also haven't wrestled since 2016. Based on this season's performance, I have to go with Renda, but this is another toss up and has huge seeding implications. 20-9 NC State
Macchiavelo vs Haught
Another top 10 matchup! Macchiavelo I believe was a walk on. He definitely was not a high level recruit. He hasn't made the podium yet, but he certainly has a shot this year. Haught has been ranked as high as 2nd this year. He seems to have no shot against Moore, but can beat anyone else on the right day. Great matchup, but Haught takes this one. Possibly even a major, but I'll go Dec. 20-12 NC State
Boykin vs Dunn
Boykin has some crazy wins this season. As a backup, he beat Nevills and Butler. He also doesn't have many bad losses. Dunn has improved tremendously this season. The VT coaching staff said he wasn't put in the work at the start of the year, but has turned it around and has some solid wins now. He also gets to train with Walz and Haught every day. Dunn holds an overtime 4-3 win against Boykin from November of this year. Both guys have jumped levels since then. I'll go with Dunn, but yet again, this is a toss up. 20-15 NC State
I think this is the year NC State pulls it off, but there are 6 toss ups, 3 where NC State is a big favorite and 1 with VT the big favorite. This could very well come down to bonus. My predictions have it 7-3 NC State, but it could very well end up 5-5.