original photo courtesy of NC State athletics
Last week, Trent Hidlay made his debut in an NC State singlet, going 3-0 at the Wolfpack Duals after picking up a win in his season-opening dual against Old Dominion. It was difficult to gauge exactly where the redshirt freshman should land in the national landscape, as three of the four wins came against non-DI competition and his opponent from Old Dominion, while capable, has yet to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in three years with the team. Hidlay was able to assert his dominance in those four matches with two major decisions and two falls.
After Saturday’s two duals, there is a clear picture of where Hidlay fits in at 184 lbs, which is near the top of the rankings. Trent had a tall task with two of the top-ranked 184 lbers in Ben Darmstadt (Cornell) and Louie DePrez (Binghamton). The day started with a dual with Cornell and Hidlay and Darmstadt would be the first match of the meet. Darmstadt, an All-American in 2018 at 197 lbs, missed all of last season due to injury and has dropped down a weight class since. Trent wasted no time and got on the scoreboard with a takedown early in the first period. He would add two more points later in that same frame with a reversal. Late in the third, with five points showing for the Wolfpack wrestler and Darmstadt with four (though riding time was locked up), Hidlay managed to get a second takedown to go-ahead 7-4. Trent rode out the Big Red wrestler to win the match 7-5. The win sparked NC State, who would blowout Cornell, 25-9. In the nightcap, Hidlay had to face the sophomore DePrez, who was a match away from earning All-American honors in 2019 and entered the day with a 5-0 record after beating Darmstadt at the Bearcat Open two weeks ago. One thing the pair has in common is that they each have represented the United States at 86 kg in the last two Junior World Championships. The NC State grappler came home with a bronze medal this summer, while DePrez came up short in 2018. There was much less scoring in the second match, but Hidlay had to grind out a win in tiebreakers against DePrez. Trent was able to prevent DePrez from scoring during the first sequence and got an escape of his own with less than five seconds remaining in the second of the two 30-second series’.
Things won’t get any easier for Hidlay the next time he takes the mat for NC State. The next event on the Wolfpack schedule is the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Six of the top seven 184 lbers in the country will be at the event, including Darmstadt and DePrez.