Nick Tighe had an abbreviated official visit to Binghamton due to a family commitment. As a result, he wasn’t there for a lot of the recruiting activities, including playing paintball.
“I know I missed a lot of the really fun things,” Tighe said. “I basically just ate and walked around a little bit.”
It turns out, it didn’t matter that he missed the special events. The two-time state champion from Phoenix High knew Binghamton was the place he wanted to be already. (He chose the Bearcats over Rutgers).
“I had seen the campus before on an unofficial trip over the summer,” Tighe said. “I really got along with the guys and the coaches. I guess the best way to say it is that I could really see myself there for the next four or five years. I think they’re doing the right things with the program and they’re bringing in a lot of good guys.”
Those “good guys” include fellow top New York seniors such as Canastota’s Zack Zupan and Shenendehowa teammates Nick Kelley and David Almaviva.
“Having two guys like Kelley and Almaviva to train with for the next four or five years is definitely exciting,” Tighe said. “Also, having [assistant coach] Teyon Ware to work with is a huge deal for me.”
Tighe, who expects to begin his college career at 133 pounds, is accustomed to having quality partners, including Phoenix coach Tim Boda. And of course, he has benefitted from the influence of Firebirds head coach Gene Mills.
“Coach Boda works out with me all the time, even when he’s hurt,” Tighe said. “I want to thank him for wrestling live with me and preparing me. And Coach Mills has given me so much and done so much for me over the years. He’s always there for me. He’s taught me attention to detail and technique, but also so many more things. It’s hard to even describe it all.”
One thing he has certainly passed along to Tighe is the ability to put opponents on their backs.
“Coach Mills has the national pin record and he’s all about pinning people,” Tighe said.
Some would say that’s what Tighe is about as well.
During his 47-2 junior campaign, he recorded 31 falls and won just six bouts by decision, according to the NWCA scorebook. In fact, he pinned three of his four foes in Albany on his way to his second state crown (at 126 pounds). He was the 119-pound champion in 2011 and took fifth as a freshman.
However, it’s the two contests that he didn’t win last year that drive him as he enters his final season in Section 3.
“I was terrible at Eastern States last year,” he said. “Unfortunately, the two wrestlers I lost to [Maverick Passaro and Sam Speno] graduated, so I can’t get another chance at them, but I am looking to win the Eastern States this year.”
In addition to atoning for his two losses, Tighe said his focus is on getting ready for the style of wrestling he will see with the Bearcats.
“I want this year to be about preparing for college,” he said. “I want to work on the things that will make me ready to compete when I get to Binghamton. But obviously, that’s all part of preparing for the state tournament where I want to win another title.”
If Tighe does stand on top of the podium in late February at the Times Union Center, he will become only the second Section 3 wrestler to win three state crowns (Dan Hunt of West Genesee was the first), a feat Tighe admits is in the back of his mind.
“It would be awesome to be able to achieve that,” he said. “It would be the perfect way to end my high school career.”