Event continues to grow
Schools use tourney to face top competition
Utah Valley University wrestling coach Greg Williams has sunk a substantial chunk of his program’s travel budget to make it to upstate New York this weekend.
He didn’t get everything he wanted for 20-grand — maybe a little more, in fact — to participate in the 16th annual Journeymen Northeast Duals and Collegiate Classic.
The two-day tournament at Hudson Valley Community College again pits some of the best wrestling teams from around the country, including a first-time visit from the Division I Wolverines — who hail from about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, and have shipped out 16 participants.
“Well, we wanted one easier
dual match, because we didn’t wrestle our starters last weekend,” Williams said after a training session at Schenectady High School. “So in that way, it didn’t happen as we would’ve liked for Saturday. But on Sunday, we’ll be returning all of our guys to the ‘A’ brackets. Frank probably can’t make everybody perfectly happy, but he does a good job trying to appease everybody.”
This is Frank Popolizio Jr.’s baby. It’s turned into a grown, successful tournament — one that even has the NCA A’s blessing to operate as an “open” tournament now. That means redshirting wrestlers can compete in it with support from their respective teams.
A boundless-energy wrestling promoter that also raises turkeys and other farm animals, and also operates a strong offseason wrestling program along with working as a Shenendehowa High assistant, Popolizio has a tournament that is worked on in some capacity “365 days a year, absolutely” and will this year feature 24 programs.
The majority will have three dual matches on Saturday then participate in Sunday’s round-robin tournament. Both facets produce a lot of catering from Popolizio in terms of gearing teams into the level of nuanced competition they’re seeking.
Again, the tournament will feature North Carolina State — coached by Popolizio’s brother, Pat.
“Pat reminds me often that this is his most expensive trip, too,” Popolizio said with a laugh. “I don’t take it for granted.”
Frank’s rebuttal would be that f lourishing N.C. State has also wrangled a bunch of talented recruits recently from New York and Connecticut, who have participated in this event before.
Popolizio’s motto is “if they see it, they’ll aspire to be it,” regarding the prominence of the event in an area which doesn’t have a Division I program closer than Binghamton.
Popolizio is excited to
Frank Popolizio Jr., shown last year overseeing workouts, has assembled a large roster of talented college teams from around the country for his annual wrestling tournament at Hudson Valley Community College this weekend.