Nov. 30, 2013
ALBANY, N.Y. – The NC State wrestling team picked up a pair of wins at the Journeyman/Northeast Duals, and nearly upset No. 7 Illinois. The Pack started its day with a 31-7 win over Buffalo, followed by a 27-9 win over Binghamton. In the final match, the Pack narrowly fell to the seventh-ranked Illini, 26-15.
“It was good getting two wins today, then we fought and showed improvement against nationally-ranked Illinois,” said head coach Pat Popolizio. We are young, and competing against good competition like we did today only makes us better. We are not holding back, we are coming out and being aggressive and I think that is setting us up for success in later duals.
“Freshmen Brian Hamann and Pete Renda gained big wins over ranked guys who were NCAA qualifiers, and this whole freshman class is continuing to improve.”
NC State started with a 31-7 win over Buffalo, winning eight of the 10 matches. After dropping a decision at 125 pounds, the Pack won seven straight bouts. Among those seven wins were 2 technical falls (Sam Speno at 141 pounds and Brian Hamann at 149 pounds) and three major decisions to give the Pack a commanding 28-4 lead.
Popolizio then faced off against his former team, as the Pack downed Binghamton 27-9. NC State won seven of the 10 matches, with one pin and three major decisions. The Pack won the first three bouts, and six of the first seven overall.
The Pack finished its day with a near upset of No. 7 Illinois, 26-15. The Pack won four of the 10 matches - highlighted by a pair of freshmen defeating returning NCAA qualifiers.
Speno notched the Pack’s first win at 141 pounds, followed by Hamann at 149 pounds, who defeated 14th-ranked Caleb Ervin, 5-3. Fellow freshman Renda picked up a huge win at 174 pounds, defeating 10th-ranked Tony Dallago, 11-5. Nick Gwiazdowski capped the day with a pin at 285 pounds.
Speno and Renda both finished their days a perfect 3-0, while Hamann and Gwiazdowski each won both of their matches.
The Pack will compete next weekend at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.