Two-Time State Champion Nick Tighe Discusses His Commitment to Binghamton

Photo by Boris V

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.”

Gene Mills and Phoenix Seek Out Competition at Hall of Fame Duals in NJ; Tighe Goes Undefeated

Nick Tighe, 2012 States, Photo by Boris Veysman


For videos, see below:

“I’m a big believer that if you want to get good, you have to seek out the competition,” Phoenix High School head coach Gene Mills said. “These last two weekends, our guys definitely looked for some serious competition.”

After wrestling at the 1000 Islands Duals in the Empire State, his squad made its way down to the shore for the inaugural National Wrestling Hall of Fame (New Jersey Chapter) duals in Long Branch, New Jersey.

The squad from Section 3 began with three contests against some top club teams from the Garden State and Ohio on Friday before taking second place in the Small High School Division event on Saturday.

In the tournament on the second day, Phoenix began with three lopsided victories against teams from the host state (Northern Burlington, Holy Cross and Fury) before facing New Jersey Select – a group of “free agent” wrestlers. In a close dual, the Firebirds needed to score nine points in the final two bouts to win, but came up a bit short to take the runner up position.

“New Jersey Select was a really good bunch of guys,” Mills said.  “It came down to the last few matches and I’m really proud of our team.  I’m really glad we went.  We saw some great competition, which can only help us.  The way I look at it, they did phenomenal, especially compared to the guys that weren’t there.”

One wrestler who stood out was two-time state champion Nick Tighe, who wrestled at 143 pounds.

“Nick went 7-0 and pretty much dominated everybody he faced,” Mills said.  “He’s been working all summer to make sure he obtains his goals again next year.  He knows everyone is gunning for him.  I think he’s made improvements, especially in positioning and more crisply using his setups.”

In addition, Mills noted the efforts of Rowdy Prior, who notched over 30 victories a year ago for Phoenix, and Tommy Hill, who competed for Fulton in 2011-12.  According to the coach, both went 5-2.

The trip was an opportunity for Mills to participate in weekend of activities for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, of which he is a Distinguished Member.

“I think they did a great job initiating the process of doing something for the Hall of Fame,” Mills said.  “It was a great chance for the kids to get in some time at the beach too.  We had a great time swimming and bodysurfing.  Overall, it was awesome.   We saw some great competition and, honestly, that’s why you wrestle.”

For some videos of Team Phoenix, please see below:

Nick Tighe Talks About Going for 3 State Titles in a Row and College Options


Nick Tighe (Phoenix) vs. Tyree Edmund (N Burlington, NJ)


Tommy Hill (Phoenix) vs. Zach Verity (N Burlington NJ)


Aaron Wilkinson (Phoenix) vs. Casey Cliver (N Burlington NJ)


Theo Powers (Phoenix) vs. Anthony Foggia (N Burlington NJ)


Franky Nassivera (Phoenix) vs. Rahmil Davis (N Burlington NJ)



Stevo Poulin Takes Third (and First) Like a Champ at Gene Mills Eastern Nationals

By Betsy Veysman

It looked like a simple mistake.  The registration for the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals listed Stevo Poulin’s name twice – in the Midget division at 54 pounds and in the Juniors at 60.

It wasn’t an error.

After three titles in the event in the past, the nine-year old was looking for a few additional tough matches.

“Sometimes the younger division isn’t that much of a challenge,” Stevo said. “I wanted a bigger challenge.  I’ve done it before [wrestling in two brackets] at local tournaments. I wanted to try it again.”

Although he had to shuttle back and forth between mats and on more than one occasion had to literally run from the final whistle of one match to his next bout, the Schuylerville native went 8-1 overall.

“I knew I would win the [Midget],” he said. “I thought I had a chance with the older kids because they weren’t much heavier.  I was kind of close to winning.”

Poulin, who weighed in at 53 pounds, breezed through the Midget bracket and into the finals with three victories.  There, he thought he might face an opponent from Maryland who he had beaten in a close match earlier in the year.  However, he instead faced his practice partner, Joey Scheeren, in the title bout and came out on top by major decision.

“They were out there almost laughing in the finals. It was almost like they were telling each other knock-knock jokes,” said Steve Poulin, Stevo’s father.  “We traveled with them to the tournament and [Joey and Stevo] are friends.”

Things were a bit more serious in the 60-pound division.  Poulin won his first two before facing Pennsylvania’s Luke Rex.  The bout went into overtime, where Poulin was penalized for scissoring the head, resulting in a victory for Rex.

Poulin bounced back to take third place, to earn two medals on the day.  But that wasn’t what Steve Poulin wanted to talk about.

“When he lost, he didn’t get upset,” the father said.  “He ran right over to his next match.  I overheard one of the other parents saying that every kid should learn from Stevo’s match.  I thought they were going to say something bad about Stevo or about the scissoring call.  But instead they said other kids should learn from how he walked off the mat, held his head high and knew how to handle the loss. He handled himself really well and that made me feel really good.”

It was the first time Poulin had lost at the Eastern Nationals, an event he has enjoyed attending for several years.

“It was the first big national tournament I ever went to,” Stevo Poulin said. “I like it because Gene Mills is there and I like the awards [which are signed by Mills].  I have good luck there.”

Poulin hopes for more good luck next week at the Brute Empire Nationals (dual and individual) in Brockport.   He will compete for Journeymen and he looks forward to a possible rematch with Ryan Crookham, who defeated him 4-0 last summer.

There’s also something else on his mind as the weekend approaches.

“Stevo is six wins away from 400,” his father said. “Hopefully, he’ll get there this weekend.”

If it doesn’t happen this time, there will be plenty of other opportunities as the Ohio Tournament of Champions, the Minimen Nationals and several other events are on the horizon.

“It will be a busy spring and summer,” Steve Poulin said. “But we’ll still make time for soccer and other things Stevo wants to do.”

One thing Stevo wanted to do was acknowledge another victory in the family at the Gene Mills tournament.   His cousin, Orion Anderson, another outstanding youth wrestler, was the champion at 70 pounds.

A full list of Gene Mills Eastern Nationals champions will be posted when available.  For more information on the tournament, see