Stevo Poulin will be taking a much-traveled path from Section II to North Carolina State University.
The three-time state wrestling champion from Shenendehowa High School has made a verbal commitment to join the Wolfpack, and will compete in a program with some familiar company including former Plainsmen and Journeymen Wrestling Club teammate Kiernan Shanahan.
The current N.C. State roster also has Ballston Spa graduates Jake Cook and Tyler Barnes, while the universities’ alumni list features among others Duanesburg product and two-time NCAA champ Nick Gwiazdowski. Those three also competed for Journeymen, which was founded by Frank Popolizio, the brother of N.C. State head coach Pat Popolizio.
“It’s pretty special to see the flow of greatness,” said Frank Popolizio, who serves as an assistant coach at Shenendehowa.
In Poulin, N.C. State is getting a junior who has accomplished many great things, yet yearns for more. He has designs on a fourth state title, and designs on many more victories at the collegiate level.
“The big reason I picked North Carolina State is I feel like I can win there, and they feel like I can win there,” said the 17-year-old Poulin. “When I took my visit and met with coach Popolizio, his perception of me was not just a kid who can help the team, but be a national champion. They believe in me.”
His official visit in the fall wasn’t the first time Poulin stepped on the N.C. State campus.
“Familiarity was a big part of it,” Frank Popolizio said. “He’s gone to camp there for years. My brother is often here in the area. Also, we’ve had other wrestlers go there, and that adds to the familiarity component.”
Poulin won his third Division 1 state title in the 113-pound weight class in February, and is projected to wrestle at 125 when he joins the Wolfpack.
“College coaches look for certain weight classes,” Frank Popolizio said. “He [Pat Popolizio] was looking for 125. But everything else has to fit, too.”
And it did.
“The campus is awesome,” Poulin said. “I have a connection with all of the guys there. I had an inside look at their practice and liked what I saw. Another plus is it’s convenient. One flight [is] a couple hours away.”
Poulin is ranked No. 9 overall in the Class of 2021 by The Open Mat, and No. 3 among those projected to wrestle at 125. N.C. State’s Jakob Camacho won the ACC 125-pound title last season as a redshirt freshman and helped the Wolfpack secure their third ACC team title in five years and 17th in all.
“I will probably redshirt,” Poulin said. “I can get used to the college wrestling scene. Get started on school. Get stronger and bigger.”
Poulin visited Ohio State, but was unable to check out two other schools he was considering, Penn State and Oklahoma State, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Poulin went undefeated the past two seasons with Shenendehowa and shows a 132-1 career high school record. He is one of five Section II wrestlers to earn three state championships, and one of two to do that at three different weight classes (113, 106, 99). His second cousin, Schuylerville graduate Orin Anderson, was the first.
Last summer, Poulin represented the United States at the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in Bulgaria, which are equivalent to the Olympic Games for his age group, and placed fifth. During his junior year at Shenendehowa he capture titles at the Beast of the East and the Eastern State Championships before defending all of his postseason titles.
Shenendehowa junior Brock Delsignore, last season’s Division 1 state 182-pound runner-up, committed to N.C. State back in October.