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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.

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  • hspooner2000 Apr 23, 2014

    I never thought much about wrestling until I started covering as a photographer. As others have mentioned, it is not a sport that gets a lot of press, but these guys are incredible athletes. I had the pleasure of covering Nick this year, and watched him make a move on a wrestler who had 50 pounds on him. You just need to watch these guys warm up to see that at the D1 Collegiate level, they are all special. NCSU has done a great job growing their program in the past few years. I look to see them in the top 20-25 in the next few years.

  • KT called a Congressional hearin Apr 19, 2014

    View quoted thread


    And yet he could probably bend you into a pretzel and shove your head where it belongs.

  • Doc Holliday Apr 18, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Yep....you have to be in serious shape to wrestle. Goes with the territory....

  • Doc Holliday Apr 18, 2014

    Congrats to him. Future MMA'er?

  • Hammerhead Apr 18, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Wrestling isn't in everybody's wheelhouse, but I love niche sports....track and field, wrestling, can't watch the NHL but love college hockey. Anybody who's ever wrestled knows the dedication it takes to get good, you have to live and breathe the sport. What he has accomplished is pretty impressive.

  • Super Hans Apr 17, 2014

    About time this kid got some press.

  • Hammerhead Apr 17, 2014

    Go get 'em bro.

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