PARIS, FRANCE – The list of firsts that Nick Gwiazdowski has accomplished for NC State wrestling continues to grow, as the former two-time Wolfpack national champion became the first current or former NC State grappler to become a world medalist.
Competing at his first World Championships on Friday in Paris, Gwiazdowski captured the bronze medal with a third place finish at 125 kg going 4-1 on the day outscoring his foes 30-16. His only loss was to the time-time defending world champion (2016 Olympics and last two World Championships – before falling in the finals) in the semifinals.
After finishing his NC State wrestling career in 2016, the three-time NCAA finalist Gwiazdowski has continued to live in Raleigh and train at the Wolfpack’s RTC, in addition to being a member of the prestigious Titan Mercury WC. Gwiazdowski entered the 2017 World Championships ranked No. 16 in the world rankings.
In his final match of the tournament, Gwiazdowski defeated 2014 Asian silver medalist Zolboo Natsagsuren of Mongolia in the bronze-medal match 5-1.
After getting a shot clock point to start, Gwiazdowski scored a first period takedown and was up 3-0 at the break. Natsagsuren was then awarded a shot clock point to close the gap to 3-1, but a second Gwiazdowski sealed the 5-1 win.
Gwiazdowski won his first three matches of the tournament to advance to the semifinals in the first session.
His day started with a 10-0 tech over Andrei Romanov of Moldova in the Round of 32. Gwiazdowski ended things in the first period with three takedowns and two turns.
In the Round of 16, Gwiazdowski defeated No. 4 seeded, Daniel Ligeti of Hungary, a three-time European medalist who was ranked fifth in the world, 10-1. Gwiazdowski was all over the ankles, picking up five takedowns in the match.
In the quarterfinals, Gwiazdowski won a brawl against 2017 Asian champion Yadolla Mohebi of Iran, 5-4. Gwiazdowski took a 3-0 lead into the break on a takedown and a step out. In the second period, he extended the lead to 5-0 with another takedown. Mohebi added two late takedowns, but it was not enough.
In the semifinals, Gwiazdowski was defeated by 2016 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Taha Akgul of Turkey in a 10-0 technical fall. Akgul was successful on his feet, scoring four takedowns and a turn to secure the win. Akgul went on to win silver.
125 kg/275 lbs. – Nick Gwiazdowski, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack WC)
WIN Andrei Romanov (Moldova), 10-0
WIN Daniel Ligeti (Hungary), 10-1
WIN Yadolla Mohebi (Iran), 5-4
LOSS Taha Akgul (Turkey), 10-0
Bronze Medal Bout – WIN Zolboo Natsagsuren (Mongolia), 5-1