Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com
RALEIGH, N.C. – In an effort to continue to be one of the top training centers in the country for wrestling, the Wolfpack Regional Training Center (RTC) has announced an expanded roster of athletes that will be training full-time in Raleigh at NC State University.
The mission of the Wolfpack’s RTC is to provide year round opportunities for wrestlers who strive to pursue the dream of wrestling both at the Olympics and other international tournaments in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling after their collegiate careers.
“This is the deepest roster with the most full-time athletes training here in Raleigh that we have had since we started the Wolfpack RTC,” said NC State Wrestling head coach Pat Popolizio. “Our goal is to help all of these athletes accomplish their post-collegiate goals of earning medals on the international level.”
“To have all of these top-level athletes competing under the Wolfpack RTC banner is extremely valuable to our Wolfpack Wrestling team,” Popolizio continued. “These RTC athletes serve as valuable mentors to our team, both in the practice room and in life outside of wrestling.
“These recent additions, and our recent success overall, would not be possible without the support of our RTC donors. Many people have stepped up and generously donated money to help these athletes’ efforts in accomplishing their long-term goals.”
The Wolfpack RTC is headed up by coach Obe Blanc. A member of the staff since 2014, Blanc was recently named the Coach of the Year by the 2018 National College Open.
Here is a listing of the full-time members of the Wolfpack’s RTC:
Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State 2013-16 • Delanson, N.Y.)
The most decorated wrestler in NC State school history, Gwiazdowski has remained in Raleigh since his collegiate career and trained at the Wolfpack RTC. Gwiazdowski has taken over as the top U.S. competitor at 125 kg in freestyle wrestling. He is a 2017 Bronze Medalist at the World Championships, and most recently, he helped the U.S. win its first Freestyle World Cup since 2003. While at NC State, he won a pair of national championships and was an All-American in all three of his seasons at NC State, and a three-time ACC Wrestler of the Year.
Tommy Gantt (NC State 2012-16 • Cahokia, Ill.)
After earning All-American honors at 157 pounds as a senior for NC State in 2016, Gantt has been training at the Wolfpack’s RTC while enrolled in grad school. Gantt now transitions to a full-time Wolfpack RTC member. Gantt has enjoyed success since transitioning to freestyle. Just a few weeks ago, Gantt bumped up to 74 kg and won the Gold Medal at the Bill Farrell International, which qualifies him for the U.S. Team Trials for the second straight summer.
Timmy McCall (Wisconsin 2011-15 • Hope Mills, N.C.)
A North Carolina native, McCall joined the Wolfpack RTC in 2015, and has not only trained full-time but works extensively with Athletes in Action on NC State’s campus. McCall competed collegiately at Wisconsin, and was ranked as high as ninth nationally. He took first place at the 2017 Henri Deglane Challenge, and was a 2016 Bill Farrell International runner-up.
Three recently athletes that just completed their college eligibility will also be joining the Wolfpack’s RTC. Michael Macchiavello and Kevin Jack both will training full-time in Raleigh after completing their All-American Wolfpack careers this past March, while Jacob Kasper will split his time training between the Wolfpack’s RTC and his alma mater Duke after his All-American career with the Blue Devils.
The three combined to earn six All-American honors during their collegiate careers, including all three earning All-American status at the 2018 NCAA Championships in their final go-around.
“We are very happy and pleased to keep both Michael and Kevin here in Raleigh as they have been instrumental to our program’s success,” said Popolizio. “These guys have had several post-college opportunities, and I am glad they have viewed us as the best training environment to accomplish their Senior-level goals.”
“This shows the evolution of the ACC, how we are using each other’s resources and both schools are benefitting from a move like this,” said Duke head coach Glenn Lanham. “Jacob has a very bright future ahead of him. He has developed and progressed tremendously over the last few years, and I am expecting big things from him.”
Michael Macchiavello (NC State 2014-18 • Monroe, N.C.)
Macchiavello capped his NC State career in grand style, winning his final match to win the 197-pound National Championship back in March. The 2018 ACC Wrestler of the year, Macchiavello started the NCAA Championships as the No. 4 seed, and capped off his title run with the winning takedown with 15 seconds left to claim NC State’s eight national title. After a redshirt season in 2016. Macchiavello earned All-ACC honors each of his last two seasons. He earned a B.S. degree in Finance from NC State in the Spring of 2017.
Kevin Jack (NC State 2015-18 • Danbury, Conn.)
Jack finished his NC State career as only the fifth individual to earn All-American honors three times in a career, and he also finished second in school history in career wins (115). Jack burst onto the college wrestling scene, coming out of redshirt and placing fifth at 141 pounds as a true freshman in 2015. He then went on to place third last year and capped his career with a sixth place finish this past March. He will earn a degree in sport management in May.
Jacob Kasper (Duke 2014-18 • Lexington, Ohio)
Kasper recently completed his collegiate career as a two-time All-American wrestling at heavyweight at nearby Duke, placing fourth this past year and sixth in 2017. The 2018 ACC Champion was 39-4 in his senior season and was 30-6 as a junior. He redshirted the 2016 season, and trained in Colorado at the Olympic Training Center.
In addition to the full-time members, recent NC State grads Quinton Godley, Lee Davis, and Mike Kosoy also train at the Wolfpack’s RTC.
If you are interested in donating to the Wolfpack RTC, please visit WolfpackRTC.com.