Military Appreciation Night At NC State Wrestling Dual

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Oak Grove employees were out in abundance to show their support at Military Appreciation Night as the NC State Wolfpack took on the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.  The evening not only produced a close dual, but also an opportunity to commemorate our nation's military personnel.  Special guests included:  Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, and two members of the 75th Ranger Regiment: Jason Conde and Raymond Castillo.  Current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and UFC middleweight fighter Luke Rockhold also made guest appearances.

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer (in blue), UFC fighter Luke Rockhold (center), and UFC heavyweight champion Cain Valasquez (in white) pose with members of the NC State Wrestling team.

Prior to the dual, a Wrestlers in Business Network Social allowed guests to meet with the members of the WIBN North Carolina Triangle Chapter. Later in the evening, military guests offered words of encouragement to the wrestlers in their pre-match speeches.

Dakota Meyer addressed the Wolfpack wrestling team in their locker room prior to the duel. He said, “No matter what you do, when you go out there tonight, it’s all about the training. The match is decided. If you put in the time and you put in the work, well, you’re going to succeed.”

A color guard representing all three NC State ROTC programs – Army, Air Force and Naval/Marine – assembled to present the colors before the dual.

The NC State color guard presented the colors before the national anthem was sang, and the dual was underway. Both active and non-active military personnel were able to enjoy the competition in VIP seating.

Going into the final two matches of the evening, the 20th-ranked NC State wrestling team and sixth-ranked Oklahoma State were matched at an even 12-12. The Pack fought hard but the Cowboys scored two major decisions and came away with a 20-12 win.

Head Coach Pat Popolizio seemed pleased with the team’s performance. He said, “Winning four matches off of Oklahoma State is pretty big for any team nationally, especially for us with six freshmen in our lineup today. We competed tonight and that is what we need heading into the postseason now. The environment could not have been better; our guys always feed off of the crowd, and tonight was such a great environment.”

We were honored to spend the evening with these brave soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country while being excellent role models to the NC State wrestling team. Combining Oak Grove’s support to veterans and wrestling, last night’s event was a wonderful opportunity to honor both. 

Redshirt Freshman, Beau Donahue, celebrates his defeat against Oklahoma State’s Davey Dolan to tie the dual (12-12).