At a glance

Albany Times Union - - SPORTS - ▶ jfranchuk@time­sunion. com

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.”


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