2023 North Carolina State vs Virginia Tech - Audio Only

#5 Virginia Tech vs #8 NC State - Preview & Predictions

#5 Virginia Tech vs #8 NC State - Preview & Predictions

A full preview with predictions for the dual between Virginia Tech and NC State on Friday, January 20.

Jan 18, 2023 by Jon Kozak
#5 Virginia Tech vs #8 NC State - Preview & Predictions

On Friday, January 20 The NC State Wolfpack will travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in what should be an incredible dual! Wrestling starts at 7:00 pm (ET) - you can watch on the ACC Network or listen to the audio only live on Flo. Either way, make sure you check out the below preview to get a breakdown and predictions for each match!

NC State vs Virginia Tech expected lineups:

125: HM Jarrett Trombley, NC State vs #20 Eddie Ventresca, Virginia Tech

133: #20 Kai Orine, NC State vs #5 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech

141: #5 Ryan Jack, NC State vs #12 Tom Crook, Virginia Tech

149: #14 Jackson Arrington, NC State vs #8 Caleb Henson, Virginia Tech

157: #8 Ed Scott, NC State vs #7Bryce Andonian/Clayton Ulrey, Virginia Tech

165: HM Donald Cates/Matt Singleton, NC State vs #22 Connor Brady, Virginia Tech

174: Alex Faison, NC State vs #3 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech

184: #3 Trent Hidlay, NC State vs #6 Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech

197: #7 Isaac Trumble, NC State vs #22 Andy Smith, Virginia Tech

285: #12 Owen Trephan, NC State vs #17Hunter Catka, Virginia Tech

The above lineups have the potential to produce 9 ranked head-to-head matchups featuring a total of 19 ranked wrestlers! That means there will be some amazing matches from start to finish!


125: HM Jarrett Trombley, NC State vs #20 Eddie Ventresca, Virginia Tech

125 marks the first of a few all-important swing matches for this dual. Ventresca and Trombley are putting together similar seasons highlighted by some notable highs and lows. Trombley has a ranked win over HM Jore Volk but losses on the season to unranked Micah Roes, Jacob Van Dee, #17 Anthony Noto, #19 Caleb Smith, HM Jake Ferri, and #13 Brett Ungar. Ventresca has been a bit more consistent with losses only against ranked wrestlers and a ranked win over HM Nick Babin. Because of Ventresca’s consistency, he’s my pick to win a close decision.

Prediction: Ventresca by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 3, NC State 0

133: #20 Kai Orine, NC State vs #5 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech

When Sam Latona is wrestling his best, he can defeat anyone in the country at 133 pounds - as seen by his recent win over #3 Vito Arujau. However, Latona’s also had lapses this year where he’s lost to wrestlers who have never earned All-American status - i.e. his losses to #19 Jason Shaner and unranked Pat Phillips. Orine is the underdog in this matchup but is a wrestler who Latona will need to bring his “A-game” against to pick up the win for the Hokies.

Prediction: Latona by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 6, NC State 0

141: #5 Ryan Jack, NC State vs #12 Tom Crook, Virginia Tech

The match at 141 between Ryan Jack and Tom Crook is another potential swing-match. Crook has put together an excellent true freshman year highlighted by wins over #15 Jesse Vasquez, #19 Parker Filius, Nic Bouzakis, #23 Lachlan McNeil, and HM Matt Kazimir. However, Jack has been even more impressive and has a head-to-head win over Crook from their meeting in December at the CKLV. Because of that outcome, Jack is my pick to come out on top Friday night.

Prediction: Jack by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 6, NC State 3

Jack's win over Crook at the 2022 CKLV:

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149: #14 Jackson Arrington, NC State vs #8 Caleb Henson, Virginia Tech

Both Caleb Henson and Jackson Arrington are putting together fantastic years as true freshmen. Of the two, Henson has been just slightly better. Henson has only lost to #1 Yianni Diakomihalis, #7 Brock Mauller, and #11 Doug Zapf but has wins over #9 Jonathan Millner, #3 Sammy Sasso, and #15 Jaden Abas. On the other side of things, Arrington has losses to #13 Colin Realbuto, #9 Jonathan Millner, #4 Yahya Thomas, and #5 Kyle Parco but wins over HM Alec Hagan, #16 Chance Lamer, and #17 Dom Demas. Based on those results, give me Henson in a competitive match.

Prediction: Henson by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 9, NC State 3

Caleb Henson talks about his early season win over Sammy Sasso:

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157: #8 Ed Scott, NC State vs #7Bryce Andonian/Clayton Ulrey, Virginia Tech

Bryce Andonian was back on the mat last weekend at the Purple Raider Open where he went 3-0 but medical forfeited in the finals. In his semi-final match against Walker Heard, Andonian was losing by two with less than 30 seconds left in the match but was able to get a point off a locking hands call and an escape to force overtime, where he would win with a takedown in just under a minute. Despite the win, Andonian was noticeably in pain at the end of the match. Because of that performance, I don’t think we’ll see Andonian in the dual against NC State.

With that in mind, Ed Scott should be considered the favorite against Ulrey on Friday. Ulrey has been “solid” on the year with a 15-9 record but has yet to record a ranked win on the season.

Prediction: Scott by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 9, NC State 6

Andonian's semi-final match at the Purple Raider Open last weekend:

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165: HM Donald Cates/Matt Singleton, NC State vs #22 Connor Brady, Virginia Tech

Connor Brady has wrestled a tough schedule this season with close losses to many of the top 165-pound wrestlers in the country - #9 Julian Ramirez, #4 Shane Griffith, #1 Keegan O’Toole, and #7 Carson Kharchla. His only loss outside the top 10 is to #20 Josh Ogunsanya. Beyond those losses, Brady has wins against HM Evan Barczak and HM Will Formato. Whether it’s Cates or Singleton, Brady should be considered the favorite as neither has recorded a ranked win yet on the year.

Prediction: Brady by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 12, NC State 6

174: Alex Faison, NC State vs #3 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech

2019 NCAA Champion Mekhi Lewis is 11-1 on the year with his only losses against Michael Labriola and wins over #9 Peyton Mocco, HM Will Miller, #15 Cade DeVos, #4 Chris Foca, and #6 Ethan Smith. However, in his recent match against Will Miller, Mekhi was pushed to the brink giving up a late third-period takedown and almost gave up back points. Faison has been solid this year with notable wins over Sam DePrez, HM Hayden Hastings, Jake Logan, and Jagger Condomitti. If Mekhi’s not 100%, expect Fiason to make this a competitive bout.

Prediction: Lewis by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 15, NC State 6

184: #3 Trent Hidlay, NC State vs #6 Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech

The match between Trent Hidlay and Hunter Bolen has the potential to be the best match of the night and could also potentially decide the outcome of the dual. Bolen and Hidlay have a rivalry dating back 3 years with Bolen holding the series lead, 3-2. Despite that series lead, Hidlay has won each of the last two meetings - 2-1 last season and 3-1 (in overtime) in 2021. All of their 5 matches have been decided by 2 points or less and we should expect this bout to be just as close as the previous 5.

Prediction: Hidlay by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 15, NC State 9

Highlights of the end of Hidlay vs Bolen last year at ACCs:


197: #7 Isaac Trumble, NC State vs #22 Andy Smith, Virginia Tech

In just his second year as the starter, Isaac Trumble has proven to be one of the best 197-pound wrestlers in the country. This year alone, Trumble has ranked wins over #6 Bernie Truax, #13 Silas Allred (2), #19 Tanner Harvey, and #9 Zac Braunagel with his only loss coming against #5 Michael Beard. On top of that, Trumble defeated current #1 Rocky Elam last season. While Andy Smith has had his moments, his losses this year against Silas Allred and Nick Stemmet make him a significant underdog to Trumble.

Prediction: Trumble by decision

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 15, NC State 12

Trumble's win in the finals of the 2022 CKLV over Tanner Harvey:

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285: #12 Owen Trephan, NC State vs #17 Hunter Catka, Virginia Tech

If the dual starts at 125 pounds, and my predictions are correct (which is unlikely), then this dual will come down to the match at heavyweight between Owen Trephan and Hunter Catka! The two met twice last year and traded wins and losses in matching 5-3 decisions. 

This year, Trephan has had a slightly better season with ranked wins over HM Cory Day, #13 Tyrell Gordon, HM Trevor Tinker, #15 Lewis Fernandes, and HM Cale Davidson while only losing to #2 Mason Parris and #10 Yaraslau Slavikouski. Catka has losses to #8 Zach Elam, #16 Tate Orndorff, and HM Jonah Niesenbaum and only one ranked win over #20 Michael Wolfgram. Because Trephan has been slightly better this year, he’s my pick to win a close decision.

Prediction: Trephan by decison

Team score prediction: Virginia Tech 15, NC State 15


I promise I didn’t mean to predict a tie dual, but here we are! The outcome I predicted illustrates how close and fun this dual should be. The key weights in the dual that could swing the outcome are 125, 141, 149, 184, and 285. Whatever happens on Friday night, we should expect a highly entertaining dual between two outstanding teams!