CHAPEL HILL, N.C. NC State started five backups Friday night in a dual wrestling match against North Carolina, and while the Wolfpack reserves fought hard, backups are backups for a reason. With starters at 125, 141, 149, 165 and 197 out of action because of injuries, NC State began the match at a disadvantage. Toss in a forfeit at heavyweight and the Tar Heels handed the Wolfpack a 33-12 decision at the Eddie Smith Field House.
NC State fell to 4-10-1 overall and 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the loss. North Carolina improved to 11-7 and 4-1.
North Carolina got off to a fast start when Nick Shields pinned NC State’s Greyson Mills in the 125-pound match. Mills got a pair of early takedowns to take a 4-1 lead, but Shields got an escape and a quick takedown before recording the pin at the 2:47 mark.
Darrius Little got the Wolfpack on the scoreboard with a 5-0 decision over Mike Robinson at 133. Little started the third period with a 1-0 lead, with Robinson choosing the down position. Little used a two-point near fall, a point for stalling and a point for riding time to seal the shutout and cut the UNC lead to 6-3.
The Tar Heels won the next two bouts. The Wolfpack’s Ryan Tice, filling in for No. 18 Joe Caramanica at 141, battled Jeremy Shaw tooth and nail. Shaw overcame a pair of reversals by Tice and won the bout 7-5 to give North Carolina a 9-3 team lead.
Fifteenth-ranked Nick Stabile scored an 18-1 technical fall over the Wolfpack’s Sean Smith at 157. Smith was wrestling in place of third-ranked Darrion Caldwell, who is 28-1 but out with back spasms. Stabile scored two takedowns and two three-point near falls in the final period to secure the tech fall.
With his team trailing 14-3, senior 157-pounder Kody Hamrah rode 20th-ranked Thomas Scotton for the entire third period to break a 2-2 tie and pick up a 3-2 decision to cut the UNC lead to 14-6. Hamrah won for the sixth time in his last seven matches, and the ninth time in his last 11.
A pair of freshmen battled at 165, with North Carolina’s Thomas Ferguson scoring six points in the final period to score a 12-0 major decision over NC State’s Quinton Godley. Ferguson wrestled in place the UNC’s normal starter at 165, 17th-ranked Keegan Mueller, who moved up to 174 to take on Wolfpack freshman Jake Burge in one of the more intriguing matchups of the night, and the highlight for NC State.
Burge and Mueller wrestled a scoreless first period, and Mueller used a second-period escape to take a 1-0 lead into the third period. Burge, especially strong for a 174-pounder, started the third period on bottom, got a quick reversal and took the lighter Mueller to his back for a three-point near fall before pinning him at 5:52. The win was Burge's second of the year over a ranked opponenthis sixth win in a row (a career high), and his ninth win in his last 11 bouts. He improved to 16-7 overall.
Burge's fall over Mueller cut the UNC lead to 18-12 with three matches remaining, but that was NC State’s last hurrah. Daniel Llamas gave UNC a 21-12 team lead with a 6-3 decision over Mark Jahad at 184, and 17th-ranked Dennis Drury clinched the team victory for North Carolina by pinning Joe Trotto at 1:46 in Trotto’s first collegiate wrestling match. NC State forfeited the heavyweight bout.
The Wolfpack returns to action Sunday with a 2 p.m. match vs. Ohio University at Reynolds Coliseum.
North Carolina 33, NC State 12
125 Nick Shields (UNC) pinned Greyson Mills, at 2:47
133 Darrius Little (NCS) dec. Mike Robinson, 5-0
141 Jeremy Shaw (UNC) dec. Ryan Tice, 7-5
149 #15 Nick Stabile (UNC) tech fall Sean Smith, 18-1
157 Kody Hamrah (NCS) dec. #20 Thomas Scotton, 3-2
165 Thomas Ferguson (UNC) major dec. Quinton Godley, 12-0
174 Jake Burge (NCS) pinned #17 Keegan Mueller, at 5:52
184 Daniel Llamas (UNC) dec. Mark Jahad, 6-3
197 #17 Dennis Drury (UNC) pinned Joe Trotto, at 1:46
Hwt Justin Dobies (UNC) won by forfeit