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2015 NCAA Div. I Championships: Heavyweight
2015 NCAA Preview: Heavyweight
Defending national champion Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State and Northwestern’s Mike McMullan — a three-time Top-3 finisher — unofficially opened the season at the NWCA All-Star Classic, Nov. 1, in Philadelphia, where the Wildcat prevailed 8-4. But that match did not officially count on their season’s records treated as an exhibition match.
Gwiazdowski — who defeated Minnesota’s two-time national champion Anthony Nelson in the 2014 final — never came close to losing a bout this winter and the native of Delanson, N.Y., enters the NCAAs with a second straight ACC title and a 30-0 mark with 14 pins. This is the same big man who first earned All-American honors (eighth in 2012) at Binghamton before he transferred with his coach Pat Popolizio to the land of the Wolfpack.
McMullan, who finished second in the 2013 NCAA finals, is coming off a Big Ten championship where the native of Easton, Pa., defeated Iowa’s Bobby Telford to avenge a Midlands finals loss to the Hawkeye.
Telford, a two-time All-American (fifth in 2012 and fourth in 2014) from Hockessin, Del., is one of three more heavyweights who have a proven resume that they could become “Saturday Nighters”.
Two of Telford’s bigger wins this winter came against Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery (in the Midlands and Big Ten semis), but the Badger from Loveland, Colo., also has enjoyed a banner season, especially in early January when he defeated McMullan.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s Adam Coon (who finished fourth at the Big Tens) continues to show the strength that helped the true sophomore of Fowlerville, Mich., capture medals in both freestyle and Greco last summer in the Junior World Championships. Among Coon’s bigger wins this winter was a victory against Telford.