NC State wrestler winning titles with more in mind
Posted April 17, 2014
At 6-1, 250 pounds Nick Gwiazdowski is a powerhouse on the wrestling mat.
And last month, the NC State sophomore powered his way to an NCAA title, beating the two-time defending heavyweight champ in the process.
“I was really really happy, a lot of different emotions. It’s been a long year, everything just hit me at once, a lot of grateful feelings,” said Gwiazdowski.
Gwiazdowski actually started his collegiate career at Binghamton but when State hired then-Binghamton coach Pat Popolizio to run the Wolfpack program, Gwiazdowski soon made it a package deal. And it’s been one that has worked out well for all involved at State.
“I knew what I had there and I didn’t want to leave him behind because he’s definitely a special athlete,” said Popolizio.
“I had a successful first year as a true freshman, I All-American’d. After doing something like that, it’s like their coaching, that stuff works for me. So if it already works why change it,” said Gwiazdowski.
“That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s very loyal and dedicated, all of those things, and I knew to build a program I needed someone like that,” said Popolizio.
Gwiazdowski is State’s sixth individual champion, and the Pack’s third heavyweight. As a sophomore he has plenty of time for loftier goals.
“It’s a great achievement, but at the same time I have to remember that I have two more years of college to compete and hopefully win some more titles,” said Gwiazdowski.
And Gwiazdowski’s senior season ends just before the 2016 Olympics, just another goal for the NCAA champ.