At a glance
Journeymen Northeast Duals and Collegiate Classic
■ When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday
■ Where: Hudson Valley Community College, Troy
have nearby Castleton (Vermont), which features a number of former Section II standouts. There’s also Division III standout Jake Ashcraft, who has gone from flourishing at Burnt Hills to Ithaca. Ashcraft will be in a Sunday roundrobin bracket that includes all Division I opponents.
Utah Valley won’t exactly recruit out here. But Williams said the benefits are strong if it can defeat a team like nationally ranked Nebraska or Rutgers. “We want to establish ourselves early in the season,” Williams added. “And get as many guys as we can ranked.”
The first dual matches start at 10 a.m. Saturday. The round-robin begins at 9 on Sunday. Both days, Popolizio figures competition will be done around 2 p.m. He has a slick scheduling and notification system and credits an “all-star staff” for producing tidy days.
Popolizio is always looking for new teams and opportunities.
There was a recent fouryear span when former Duanesburg High state champ Nick Gwiazdowski was an easy sell, as he was becoming a two-time NCAA king at N.C. State.
Utah Valley’s appearance means giving a primarily East Coast program
lineup a “different look; it adds a little flair.”
Williams said he’s grateful for the competition, and also Popolizio chipping in to help the Wolverines get there by picking up the tab on some of the hotel rooms. The team’s expenses ballooned because they won’t be able to fly back home until Monday.
Perhaps the only preevent disappointment is that Tyler Barnes won’t be returning. The former Ballston Spa state champ broke his ankle last weekend, according to Popolizio Jr. Barnes is redshirting his freshman year at N.C. State anyway, but possibly could’ve wrestled under the new “open” designation.
Williams said he’s just looking forward to having his team try something new. This trip isn’t something he can afford to do every year.
Meanwhile, you can bet Popolizio will try to make it work. He knows he’s not pitching a natural recruiting base for some schools, or even great weather. (Utah Valley is also headed to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this season.) It takes some creativity to make it work.
“We had been talking for about three years,” Williams said. “I’m glad we kept following up. It’s more than we have ever spent. But we’re looking for that competition. I think the guys are super excited.”