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NCAA pairings released for wrestling tournament

A pair of former Mifflin County High School standout wrestlers learned Wednesday their seeds and first-round pairings for the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 18-20 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

The news for the Hidlay brothers is good.

Hayden and Trent Hidlay, 157- and 184-pounders, respectively, for North Carolina State, were each seeded among the top two at their weights.

Hayden (9-0), a redshirt senior, is the No. 2 seed at 157 pounds, behind top-seeded Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. Hayden claimed his fourth ACC championship on Feb. 28, just the 10th wrestler in the history of the conference to accomplish that feat. Hidlay has a first-round matchup against Markus Hartman (5-2) of Army, the No. 31 seed.

Trent (6-1), a redshirt sophomore, is the No. 2 seed at 184 pounds, behind top-seeded sophomore Aaron Brooks of Penn State. Hidlay (9-0) scored a breakthrough win in the ACC 184-pound final, edging Virginia Tech’s Hunter Bolen in sudden victory. Hidlay will face No. 31 seed Ryan Reyes (6-4) of Oregon State in the first round.

Penn State’s nine NCAA qualifiers all learned their seeds and first-round matchups, as well.

The Nittany Lions were led by the top-seeded Brooks (9-0), a two-time Big Ten champ. Brooks faces the winner of a pigtail bout between No. 33 seed Joe Accousti (4-4) of Sacred Heart against No. 32 seed Jhaquan Anderson (9-2) of George Washington

Fresh off his first Big Ten championship, Nittany Lion 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young (9-0) earned the No. 2 seed at 133 pounds. Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore Daton Fix is the top seed. Bravo-Young will face No. 31 seed Sean Carter (14-6) of Appalachian State in the first round.

Penn State senior Nick Lee (8-1) is the No. 2 seed at 141 pounds. The Big Ten runner-up is seeded behind the opponent who beat him, 6-5, in the Big Ten final, Iowa senior Jaydin Eirman. Lee will face No. 31 seed Julian Flores (6-3) of Drexel in the first round.

Freshman Robbie Howard (5-4) is the No. 23 seed at 125 pounds. If he wants to advance past his first-round matchup vs. Malik Heinselman (10-3) of Ohio State, the No. 10 seed, he’ll have to reverse two 5-2 losses during the regular season and Big Ten tournament.

Junior Brady Berge (8-3) was seeded No. 12 and will face 157-pound No. 21 seed Andrew Cernegila (8-1) of Navy.

Freshman Joe Lee (6-5) is the No. 23 seed at 165. He’ll face Oklahoma State No. 10 seed Travis Wittlake (16-1), a former Penn State commit, in his NCAA tournament debut.

Freshman Carter Starocci (8-2) was seeded third at 174. He meets Virginia No. 30 seed Victor Marcelli (8-5) in the first round.

Freshman Michael Beard (6-4) is the No. 15 seed at 197. He’ll meet Navy’s No. 18 seed Jacob Koser (7-3) in his first match.

Penn State’s freshman heavyweight, Greg Kerkvliet (6-2), is the No. 9 seed at 285. He meets the Citadel’s Michael McAleavey (15-1) to open the tournament.

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