Pullano Dreams of Building a Power
By ODU Athletics
May 20, 2008
Commonwealth District notebook:
BY JUSTIN RICE
Date published: 5/13/2008
When Nick Pullano helped play a part in Great Bridge High School's nine straight Group AAA state wrestling team titles, he learned what it takes to be a champion.
Now he's hoping he can pass those lessons on to another generation of wrestlers.
The Old Dominion graduate has been hired by Massaponax to head up the Panthers' program. The team began offseason conditioning workouts yesterday, the first step in what Pullano hopes is a march to join the state's elite wrestling squads.
"It's going to be hard, but if they want to be an elite level program, that's what it's going to take," Pullano said.
Old Dominion coach Steve Martin played a big part in shaping Pullano's wrestling career. Martin won 13 state titles at Great Bridge, including a run of nine straight that Colonial Forge snapped in 2007.
Pullano first enrolled at Tennessee-Chattanooga, but then transferred to join his old coach with the Monarchs.
"Coach Martin, I believe, is one of the best coaches in the country," Pullano said. "Other than my own father, he's taught me everything I know.
Pullano finished his collegiate career this winter with a fourth-place finish at the CAA Tournament. He qualified for the NCAAs and was second in the CAA last year.
His return to the Commonwealth District--where he will regularly face Colonial Forge--brings about an ironic twist: His last high school match came in the Group AAA state finals in 2003.
There, as a 152-pounder, he lost, 2-1, to Eagles senior Scott Fisher, Colonial Forge's first-ever state champion.
Since then, Forge has grown into the state's premier program--a goal Pullano dreams of matching.
"I want to build a state championship program," he said. "I want to have the best team in the state.
"I don't like losing and I know I'm not walking in to Great Bridge. But I've been preparing for this day since I was 10-years old.