Nick Gwiazdowski, a Duanesburg High graduate competing for North Carolina State, reached the finals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships with a 5-3 semifinal win over Adam Chalfant of Indiana on Friday night.
Gwiazdowski, the No. 2 seed at 285 pounds, became the third former Section II wrestler to make the finals of the DI nationals when he scored the winning takedown late in the semifinal match to break a 3-3 tie.
The two-time state champion will wrestle top seed and two-time defending champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota in tonight’s final, set to be televised on ESPN.
The pair have split four matches in the past year, in both freestyle and collegiate competition.
Gwiazdowski joins Greg Parker and Carl Fronhofer as former Section II champions to get to the NCAA final.
Shenendehowa graduate Parker finished second at 174 pounds in 2002 while competing for Princeton. Salem grad Fronhofer made the finals at 174 the following year.
Gwiazdowski scored first in the semis, taking a 2-0 lead on a takedown. Chalfant quickly got a reversal to tie the match.
Gwiazdowski chose the down position to start the second period, and went up, 3-2, on an escape.
Chalfant matched that to start the third, tying the match at 3-3.
Gwiazdowski, who placed eighth and earned All-America status as a freshman while attending Binghamton in 2012 before transferring to North Caroline State and red-shirting last season, became a two-time All-American when he beat No. 7 seed Mike McClure of Michigan State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals.
Gwiazdowski scored the first point of that bout when he got an escape to start the second period,
McClure tied it with an escape early in the third, but Gwiazdowski picked up a penalty point on a stalling call and added a late takedown for the 4-1 margin.
The semifinal win was the 41st of the season for Gwiazdowski (42-2), a school record for wins in a season.