Jan. 18, 2013
Wrestling in Home Action Friday Night | Notes/Probable Lineups
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RALEIGH, N.C. - After a perfect 3-0 record to begin the season, the NC State wrestling team is entering its first home dual meet. The Wolfpack will square off against American University tonight at 7 p.m.
Emerging as one of the team’s youngest leaders is sophomore Thomas Gantt. Gantt, from Cahokia, Ill., wrestles at the 149-pound weight class and has a record of 10-3 for the season. He finished third at the Reno Tournament of Champions this year, and went undefeated in the three duals last week. He secured major decisions against Campbell and Gardner-Webb, and a pin against VMI.
Gantt is an exciting wrestler who has strong technical skills on his feet. He is dedicated to the sport and is a pivotal asset to the team. After placing second in Illinois’ state high school tournament as a senior, Gantt decided to join the Pack.
Gantt says the move from Illinois to North Carolina was relatively easy due to the friendly atmosphere and southern hospitality. He felt welcomed and enjoyed the southern weather.
Not all great high school wrestlers can translate into great college wrestlers due to the high level of competition and tough regimen. Gantt has proven that he can compete at the Division I level.
He described the transition from high school to college as somewhat difficult in that “college is more chain wrestling. You have to wrestle the full seven minutes”.
Gantt recorded 15 wins for the Wolfpack as a freshman and is continuing to establish his role as a team leader. The wrestlingreport.com has Gantt ranked at 26th in the country and he has a real shot to be in the NCAA Tournament this year.
When asked about his motivation, Gantt says, “I am trying to win a national title and be the best I can be.”
His goals for this season include “qualifying for nationals as well as becoming an All-American. I am taking it one step at a time.”
In high school, along with wrestling, Gantt played football, baseball, and track. When he’s not wrestling, he enjoys playing video games, watching movies and spending time with his girlfriend. His role models include his dad and Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. After college, Gantt plans to give back to the sport and become a coach.
Gantt says the Wolfpack wrestling team is developing a positive attitude this year.
“Once people bought into the ‘Pack Mentality’, we began to move forward.”
Coach Pat Popolizio is having a great impact on the Wolfpack squad. Tonight’s match will be Popolizio’s first home match and will be an exciting one for Pack fans as well as the wrestling squad.
By Colin Genthert, student intern in NCSU Media Relations