Top Ten of the 2010s: Gee Gwiz, Times Two
As we approch the final 10 days of the 2010s, SI Wolfpack Maven takes a look back at the past 10 years in NC State sports and counts down the Wolfpack's top 10 moments of the decade.
Today is Dec. 27, 2019.
With five days remaining, it's time to check in on Moment No. 5: The back-to-back national championships won by wrestling star Nick Gwiazdowski.
Nick Gwiazdowski was an All-American before he arrived at State, having earned the honor as a true freshman at Binghamton University in his home state of New York. But it was as a member of the Wolfpack that he blossomed into a champion and one of the greatest wrestlers ever to wear the red and white.
A native of Delanson, N.Y., located nearby the state capital of Albany, Gwiazdowski decided to transfer to State when his coach at Binghamton, Pat Popolizio, was hired by the Wolfpack.
After sitting out the 2012-13 season under NCAA transfer rules, he went 42-2 in his first season at State, setting a new school record for wins in a season while winning ACC Wrestler of the Year honors. He posted vicories in his final 20 matches, with 11 of them coming against ranked opponents in sweeping to his first national championship at 285 pounds.
Gwiazdowski was even better as a junior, repeating his national title at 285 pounds with a perfect 35-0 record while becoming only the third wrestler in ACC history -- and first ever from State -- to win multiple NCAA championships. he joined Sylvester Terkay (1991-92-93) as the only Wolfpack wrestler to appear in back-to-back national championship matches.
He went on to extend his winning streak to an incredible 88 straight by going undefeated on the way to his third straight NCAA final. He came less than a minute away from successfully defending his titles, leading Ohio State's Kyle Snyder 5-3 at New York's Madison Square Garden before Snyder scored a tying takedown with 11 seconds left in the third period.
Gwiazdowski couldn't escape and eventually lost 7-5 on another takedown early in overtime.
Despite the loss, he finished his college career as one of the most decorated wrestlers ever at state -- a two-time national champion, three-time All-American, three-time ACC champion and two-time ACC Wrestler of the Year.
He has since won a gold medal at the Pan Am games and earned a spot on the U.S. national team to the world championships in each of the past three years, twice winning bronze medals. He is a leading candidate to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for next summer's Games in Tokyo.
Top 10 NC State Sports Moments of he 2010s
Don't forget to check back on Saturday for moment No. 4