The Wolfpacker

May/June 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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42 ■ THE WOLFPACKER He was the 2020 ACC Wrestler of the Year and the ACC Wrestling Scholar- Athlete of the Year the same season, and became the league's 10th four-time indi- vidual champion in 2021. He wrapped up his sixth college cam- paign this year by earning the H.C. Ken- nett Award, the highest athletic award at NC State which is annually given to a superior student-athlete who dem- onstrates the finest attributes of good sportsmanship and team play. But even all of that doesn't do his ca- reer proper justice. He was more than an astounding number of wins, presti- gious awards or immaculate grappling skills. Just ask his coach, Pat Popolizio, who after NCAAs this year called Hidlay the most important building block in his program's growth to its current national powerhouse status. Keep in mind that the coach has men- tored two different national champions, including the program's only two-timer, during his time in Raleigh. "Hayden has been one of the most im- pactful student-athletes that I have ever seen. Not only just within our program, but both at the conference and national levels too," Popolizio said when an- nouncing Hidlay's new job as the wres- tling team's student-athlete develop- ment coordinator. "I am extremely excited for this op- portunity to keep him in Raleigh and around our team. He will continue to develop and mentor both our current wrestlers and all of our future commits here at NC State." One Last Ride Hidlay literally wrestled with the decision of whether he wanted to take advantage of the free year of eligibility granted to all athletes to counteract the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He Hidlay was the 10th four-time ACC wrestling champion and the NC State program's first-ever five- time All-American, an opportunity he earned due to the free year of eligibility from the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO BY TONY ROTUNDO/WRESTLERSAREWARRIORS.COM An All-Around WINNER All-America Wrestler Hayden Hidlay's Impact Can't Be Measured By Just Victories BY RYAN TICE ayden Hidlay never accomplished what he set out to do in his college wrestling career, which was to win a national title. But there's so much more that he did and meant to NC State. He didn't just become the program's first-ever four- time All-American, he received the honor five times. He placed among the top five all four years he competed at the national tournament, and received first-team All-America honors in 2020 when the event was canceled. He stands second in NC State annals with a .909 winning percentage (110-11), while his overall victory total is tied for the third-most ever by a Wolfpacker. H

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