@hoagieboyhidlay: The Untold Legend of The Hoagie Boy #wrestlingTweet
Check out the podcast episode and subscribe if you enjoy!
Trent Hidlay and his brother, Hayden Hidlay, are the two-headed monster of NC State. The brothers were both named to All-American honors after the season was called off. Now, the Hidlay brothers and the entire fourth ranked NC State wrestling team look forward to the 2021 season.
While it wasn’t how most wrestlers imagined it, Trent Hidlay was named to the All-American team despite the season and tournament canceled due to the pandemic. While it wasn’t optimal, it was still an honor for Hidlay to be named to the team.
“It feels great. I think it’s a testament to our coaching staff. I think in the past few years they have done a great job with getting young wrestlers, like myself and my older brother, and some of the other guys, to compete at a high level as freshmen. I take a lot of pride in is being able to be a leader for a team, even as an underclassmen. That’s what the message was for me when I was when I was getting recruited here; to come in here and make an impact early. So it’s a big deal for me. And I think obviously I would have liked to have the season play out and get my shot at national title. I think there’s lots of lessons that we’ve learned in the past month or two and I think I’ll be ready to take that extra step next year.”
The Hidlay brothers started in wrestling very young, as many wrestlers do. He and his brother started around the same time and with athletes running in the family, it makes complete sense that the Hidlay brothers have done well in wrestling so far.
“It’s kind of funny story. My brother Hayden I got started. We were actually the first kids to wrestle in our family. My dad played basketball in high school and football and college and my oldest brother, he was two years older than Hayden. He played basketball as well and playing football in Pennsylvania. But Hayden had some friends in school that when he was in, I think he when he was six, they wanted him to try it. He was a natural at it and about two years later, when I turned five I started wrestling. I didn’t quite have the success he did early on, but it was it was something that I definitely enjoyed and I think my parents request it so we weren’t wrestling in the house all the time.”
Back to the virus, Hidlay says it was tough to see his teammate’s season ended. Luckily, the starting roster didn’t have any seniors and NC State will come back incredibly strong in 2021. Hidlay says the staff NC State has put around the team is the best thing that helped he and the team get through the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s devastating. It was hard. I think it was an emotional time for our team. I’m glad I was around them and I’m glad I was around the coaching staff that I was when it happened. They were very supportive, and NC State as a whole is very supportive and making sure that we have what we need to cope with this whole thing. I think it just a lot of uncertainty. And the thing is, everyone else is going through it. It’s not like we were singled out and and we weren’t allowed to compete. Everybody in the country had their dreams ripped away from them. It’s definitely hard, but I definitely am glad that I’m in a position and around a group of people that are supportive and make it easier. It was hard because I really thought I had a good chance to win a national title this year as well as other guys in the team. Our team was ready to make a push for a team trophy. And I think that’s something we, we were going to do. We were peaking at the right time we were we were all wrestling well and we were constantly going to the tournament. So it’s hard. You know, it’s it wasn’t an easy, easy time but we’re moving on and we’re doing things to get ready for next year. Luckily, we didn’t have any seniors in the starting lineup. So everyone’s gonna be back for next year. And we have a you know, a freshman crew coming in that are gonna be really hungry and I think they’re going to round us off and we’re having a really tough team next year.”
The Culture of NC State
As mentioned earlier, NC State has an incredible support system for it’s athletes. The culture is the foundation for not only the wrestling program, but the young men and women that the school puts into society.
“I think the culture is the big thing with NC State wrestling. I think that’s why they’ve seen the success we have in the last few years. Coach Pat Popolizio took a team that was finishing almost in the lower percentiles of the NCAA Tournament. And within a few years getting forward to the NCAA tournament, it’s something that many people can do. I think it says a lot about the culture of the team and the culture of the program and the the culture of the athletics at NC State. When you’re recruited at NC State, the message is that it’s a pack mentality culture. So that, that encompasses a lot of things. That encompasses the way you wrestle, but more so the way you live your life. So academics, training, you know who you are in the community, it plays a big role in who we are. I think that’s, that’s why we’ve seen the success we have especially so quick. The message is that we’re going to win and we’re going to do it the right way. And I think that’s why we’ve done well, and we’re going to continue to do well. Because we want to surround ourselves ourselves with like minded people that that want to win and do it the right way. Doing well in the classroom, no partying, no drinking or smoking, doing all the right things and and good things will happen. That’s that’s something that has been really good. He’s very good at keeping guys motivated and bringing in right people. We have a great coaching staff and and really that just impacts everybody else on the team and everyone else wants to follow that lead.”
In Trent Hidlay’s redshirt freshman year, he wrestled at 174. Going into his first season as a starter, Hidlay moved up to 184 for the team. He feels this time at 74 helped tremendously in his wrestling and is glad to have had the chance to do that and move up.
“I think the weight jump was just not only was good for me, but I think the team as well. I think I had a pretty good freshman year, it was a little bit of a weight cut. At that point, I think the coaches sat me down and said, ‘You know, for the next year We were going to need someone at 184 with [Nick] Reenan moving up to 197.’ It just made sense for me to try to get strong and wrestle a lot during the freestyle season, not have to worry about cutting weight and just get better technique wise, not having to worry. Not going into practice and worrying about weight, just focusing on technique and how it’s used. I think that was a big factor in decision. I spent some time at 74. And honestly, I think I learned a lot about that. I think starting out as a true freshman 184 is really hard because you really on the fence. I think 74 and then gradually going up was was a good adjustment for me. And I was lucky to have a lot of good partners in the room.”
184 is where Hidlay intends to stay unless the team needs him. He isn’t in the sport for himself, he’s all about the NC State wrestling team which is another indicator of the culture the school has in place.
“Down the road, if something needs to happen in order to make a change, I’ll be willing to do that for the team. But for right now I’m just focusing on staying strong, and putting on some pounds and competing with 84. I like where I’m at.”
Trent Hidlay Working on His Game
With the time off due to COVID-19, Hidlay sees it as a way to improve in areas of his game he hasn’t worked on in the past. He’s training different areas that will improve his wrestling in the long run. He has been a wrestling first, now he’s taking a deeper dive in the sport.
“So this this time has honestly been a kind of a blessing in disguise for me. Usually I’m very nose to the grindstone, work hard, grind things out. And this has kind of changed my perspective on a few things. I’ve been working a lot on my mind and in training my mind strengthening that. Then things like stretching every day. I’ve been I’ve been doing like 30 minutes of stretching kind of increase my flexibility because that’s not something I’ve been very good at in the past. So, right now, really the focus isn’t on wrestling a bunch of live and, and run on my legs into the ground. I’m taking new approaches to improve myself and I think it’s gonna help me take the next step in my wrestling game. I think if you look at some of the the some of the best athletes at the highest level, not only wrestling but other sports as well, I think you’re gonna find that they they train their mind just as much as training the body. So that’s that’s an approach I’ve taken. Just little things like I said, like, increases flexibility and, doing more running and just being a good teammate. I think it’s been something I’ve kind of been focusing on a lot this time. I think it’s gonna help me next year to jump levels and on the wrestling mat as well. So when we get back I’m gonna be prepared and I’ll be ready to train hard again, but I’m just using this time and just staying healthy. spending some time with my family and relaxing and enjoying the moment.”
The Legend of the Hoagie Boy
So now for the burning question, where did the moniker, “Hoagie Boy,” come from? Trent Hidlay answers that question very candidly.
“To tell you about Hoagie, I have to take you back a few years. My guess my senior year of high school, my brother and, Hayden, on the weekends we would we would get up at hoagies and just watch football on the couch and kind of call it a hoagie club. Not much of a club, but we would just tell these guys that we hang out. It’s like we kind of called ourselves the hoagie brothers. And then at Who’s Number 1, my senior year, I was wrestling and the name Hoagie started to catch on a little bit and I decided if I want I better do something interesting. We had hoagies for lunch that day and I saved one and gave it to my buddy. I said, ‘If I win, just throw this out, I’ll take a bite. And then I during the match I won. I got a pin in overtime and I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was kind of losing my mind. And then next thing I know, I see a hoagie flying in my head. And I catch it I take a bite and then ever since then, I’ve been the Hoagie Boy. It’s fun, I definitely like it and it’s always funny when somebody calls me Hoagie Boy. I like to expand my brand as much as possible.”
The Hoagie Boy is going into his sophomore year with high expectations for not just himself, but for NC State as a team. With so much momentum ending in 2020, NC State and Trent Hidlay will look to keep up the winning ways going into 2021.