NC State redshirt sophomore heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski joined the Wolfpack's storied wrestling tradition and gave the school its sixth NCAA Champion over the weekend when he topped two-time defending national champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota, 4-2.
Gwiazdowski, who redshirted last season after transferring from Binghamton, entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed and finished atop the podium with a new school record of 42 single-season victories, to go along with his ACC and NCAA gold medals. The native of Delanson, N.Y., finished his season with 20 straight victories, and 11 of his final 15 wins were against nationally ranked opponents.
His final ledger of 42-2 bettered the previous program standard of 41 wins set by NC State Hall of Famer and fellow NCAA heavyweight national champion Sylvester Terkay in 1993, and Gwiazdowski also totaled 15 pins, which is the fifth-most in a single season at NCSU.
The heavyweight marks the first National Champion for both the school and ACC since the Wolfpack's Darrion Caldwell won the 149-pound NCAA crown in 2009. Gwiazdowski's finish also paved the way for a team finish of No. 19, the Pack's first top-25 finish since the same year. NCSU finished as the second-best ACC squad in the final standings, checking in behind No. 8 Virginia Tech, who won the ACC team title.
As a true freshman wrestling for head coach Pat Popolizio at Binghamton, Gwiazdowski took eighth at Nationals, and then followed the coach to Raleigh.
The Wolfpacker has exclusive video interviews below with Gwiazdowski and Popolizio, as well as a short video of Gwiazdowski receiving his National Championship trophy on Saturday night in Oklahoma City.