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March 21, 2014

Nick Gwiazdowski


285 Pounds
(North Carolina State) (45-2)

THE MODERATOR:  Nick Gwiazdowski.

Q.  Nick, could you talk about how you got here, considering where you started out in college two years ago?
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  Been a long two days, but started off at Binghamton University in New York with Coach Popolizio and Coach Beasley, and then when they took the job at NC State, kind of left me in between there because I'm two hours away from my home.
But good coaches that have a long‑time connection with that, I didn't want to leave to risk getting another coach that you don't really mesh well with.  So I transferred down to NC State.

Q.  How has that experience been?  Totally different kind of college in a different part of the country.  You knew the coaching staff, but had to be a transition for you.  You're from New York and you stayed in New York to start college.  What's the experience been like being with the staff and the new program?
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  I went to school there, my first six months, the only people I knew were guys on the wrestling team and the coaches.  But we brought in good guys to be around, and that helped me a lot, guys from my area in New York.
And just the training was something I was used to.  So I knew was going to redshirt, I knew was going to put a lot of matches down the road and that kind of stuff.  So once they had the wrestling built up, then it was kind of, you know, grow out to other aspects of the school, but the school is good and wrestling is good, so I'm content.

Q.  What is it about Popolizio that would make you want to take that experiment?  And then last year, redshirted, you did wrestle open tournament.  And included in that, I think you wrestled Nelson?
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  Yeah.  Just someone I knew for a while.  I wrestled with his brother at Journeyman Wrestling Club in Albany, and it was somebody that I was comfortable with.  Then after my success, All‑American my freshman year.  After that, it wasn't something I wanted to risk.  I'm not saying bad things about the Binghamton coach, but you make a decision like that, it's going to change your next five years of college.
So don't change horses in the middle of the stream.  So it was working, so why change it?

Q.  Talk about wrestling Nelson.  You wrestled him twice in the World Team Trials, right?  It was freestyle, but it was also ‑‑ he's a good freestyler also.  What did you learn from those matches that might help you tomorrow?
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  My redshirt year, I wrestled him at the scuffle.  It was 4‑1 and he won.  And I beat him at the World Team Trials first round 9‑0, and then 5‑3 for maybe third place.  And then he beat me at the scuffle one‑out.
So after beating him at the world team trials, he made a lot of adjustments.  He's a good wrestler.  He's going to do that.  I kind of went in there expecting him to do the same kind of things.  I didn't really get to where I wanted to be, but tomorrow night's going to be different.

Q.  Are you pleased with the way you're wrestling so far in this tournament?  You made the Finals, got the W, are you wrestling the kind of wrestling you want?
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  I'm right where I need to be.  Been working out good all this year.  Jamill Kelly, since I started training with him, it's added a whole different aspect to my wrestling and my wrestling IQ and that kind of stuff.
There's not an offensive, really, a defense position either on my feet that I'm not aware of or know how to defend with him coaching me.  So him and‑‑ all this summer I worked out with Tervel Dlagnev a few times over at Ohio State.  So just working with a guy like him, you go out there for a week and don't score one takedown, and you put your hands on these college guys, wow, these college guys aren't as bad.
Once you wrestle one of the best guys in the world, you get that feeling, it's a lot easier.

Q.  NC State hasn't had a national finalist since 2009, with Darrion Caldwell.  How does that feel to be the first one up to bat?  Been a while for the Pack.
NICK GWIAZDOWSKI:  It's a good feeling.  Not a lot of finalists come from the ACC.  And it's good.  Darrion's once of the best one that did it in a very tough weight class.  And we have a heavyweight tradition.  In fact, Sylvester Terkay won it before, too.  So we can win from NC State heavyweight.  Not worried about that.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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