Trent Hidlay Picks N.C. State, But Not For The Reason You Think

There seemed to be a misconception in some people’s minds that Trent Hidlay was destined to attend North Carolina State simply because his older brother, Hayden, wrestles there.

That wasn’t the case at all, Trent said Monday, hours after announcing that he would indeed be joining coach Pat Popolizio’s Wolfpack.

“If (Hayden) wasn’t there, I’d still be all in on N.C. State,” Trent told PA Power Wrestling. “It’s just a plus that he was there. He never once told me he wanted me to go to N.C. State. It was ‘Figure out what is best for you.’ ”

Trent, who is the No. 5-ranked senior recruit in Pennsylvania, said that he informed his brother ahead of the Super 32 tournament, which was wrestled Saturday and Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.

“I told him last week, I think it was Thursday,” Trent said. “He was really excited, really proud of me. I think I was stressing him out. He was really happy.”

Trent then told the N.C. State coaching staff of his decision.

“I made the decision last week,” he said. “I called coach Pat Popolizio and the N.C. State guys and let them know. I wanted to let them know and be able to focus on the Super 32.”

The Super 32 didn’t go as planned. A few weeks after winning Who’s #1? to lay claim to top national ranking among 170-pounders, Trent dropped a pair of matches in ultimate tiebreaker on Sunday to finish fourth.

He could have skipped the tournament, as many of the other top-ranked wrestlers did, but Trent said he wants to compete in the biggest events to test himself and be tested by others.

“I’m going to put it all on the line all the time,” he said. “Failure, I’ve really embraced it. It’s only a loss if I don’t learn from it.”

Hayden was there to coach Trent, and the bond between the brothers is unmistakable. But Trent knows that it is strong enough to survive no matter where he attends college.

“I knew our relationship was still going to be the same,” he said. “He’d still love me, and I’d still love him.”

And while having Trent and Hayden on the same team will make it a little easier on their parents, they didn’t push him toward the Wolfpack.

“They like traveling, so I don’t think it was a big concern,” Trent said with a laugh. “They’re really happy for me. They’ve supported me very well in this decision. It’s a lot easier to make the decision when you have family members that love you.”

There are plenty of college coaches that love him as well. The Mifflin County senior has a career record of 111-14, and he won his first state title in March after finishing second as a sophomore.

He chose N.C. State over a list of finalists that included Iowa, Lehigh and Purdue.

“I really did like all of them,” he said. “It’s a really hard decision. All of the coaches were great. At the end of the day, I felt most comfortable at N.C. State. You’ve got to go with your gut, and N.C. State is the place for me.”

With his decision now made, he can turn his attention to winning a second state title.

“I think it definitely takes some pressure off me,” he said. “It’s been a stressful process. It will free up a lot of my time. At the same time, I enjoyed the process, but I’ll be able to focus on school and getting better at the sport.

“I’m ready to go for back-to-back PIAA titles and have fun doing it,” he said.

While Hayden is expected to break into the Wolfpack lineup at 157 as a redshirt freshman this season, Trent said he’s not worried about where he’ll fit in over the next few years.

“I’ve never really had too much concern about it,” he said. “Wherever the program needs me to be, whether that’s 174 or 184. If I had to guess, I’d probably start out at 174 and maybe go up. Anyplace you go, you’re going to have to go out and beat somebody.”

Trent said he has a good relationship with the Wolfpack staff that includes assistants Adam Hall, Donnie Vinson and Obe Blanc in addition to Popolizio. That helped the Wolfpack remain front-runners even after former assistant Frank Beasley, who has been close to the Hidlays for years, left to take the head coaching job at George Mason.

The coaches were just part of the attraction.

“The overall atmosphere of the program, the way that they train and wrestle,” he said. “Coach Popolizio, Coach Vinson, Coach Hall, Coach Obe Blank – they’re all great coaches, and they’re all good people in general.”

“I wanted to be with the things they’re going to do in the future, and to make history at N.C. State.”

Having his brother by his side is just an added bonus.

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