Last week, the menu was lasagna, sausage and peppers and Italian nachos.
Saturday, Nick Gwiazdowski’s plate will be full again, as the Duanesburg High School graduate fights for a spot on the freestyle team that will represent the United States at the wrestling World Championships.
Some 10 days after Gwiazdowski, a two-time NCAA champion, joined his North Carolina State teammates at a cook off challenge, he will be trying to battle his way through a six-man challenge tournament at the World Team Trials in Madison, Wis.
The winner gets a shot at knocking off four-time winner Tergel Dlagnev in the best-of-three wrestle-off for the 285-pound division spot on the team that will compete in the World Championships in Las Vegas in September.
When he wasn’t collaborating with teammates on his group’s menu for the cook off, Gwiazdowski has spent time since finishing his spring semester prepping for the Trials after earning a spot with a fourth-place finish last month at the U.S. Open.
“I watched some matches from the Open and made some changes,” said Gwiazdowski, who will be a red-shirt senior when the Wolfpack begins pre-season training this summer. “Nothing big, just some little things.”
As he has the last few springs, Gwiazdowski worked out with Dlagnev at the Olympic Training Center in Ohio.
“Last week I went to Ohio and worked with Tervel,” said Gwiazdowski, a two-time state champion for Joe Bena at Duanesburg. “It helps me. Our styles are similar. We both are offensive wrestlers. We score points.”
Gwiazdowski, fourth in the Trials last year and third in 2013, has found there is a difference between college and national teams.
“The level of competition is higher,” Gwiazdowski said. “It’s a lot more tactical.”
The wrestlers Gwiazdowski could see Saturday are very familiar.
He’s battled with Zach Rey, Dom Bradley, Tyrell Fortune, Connor Medbery and Adam Coon at the collegiate and/or national levels the past few seasons.
Gwiazdowski got to the challenge tournament final last year before losing to Rey. He’s looking to get to the final wrestle-off with 2004 World bronze medlist Dlagnev this time.
“I’m excited about this weekend, more than I was for the Open,” he said.
Shenendehowa grad Alexis Porter and former Duanesburg state tourney qualifier Amy Golding will be competing in the women’s tournament this weekend,
Porter, who will be a sophomore at McKendree University this fall, has qualified at 138.75 pounds in the women’s freestyle event. She is in the challenge tournament on Saturday.
Golding will be in the 105.5-pound challenge tourney on Sunday.