WHERE ARE THEY NOW: TROY'S STEPHANI MAKING HISTORY IN NEW WAYS
(2020-12-27)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
Nick Stephani was part of two drought ending achievements at Troy.
In 2013 he was part of the Trojan football team to win their first District IV title in 25 years, and in 2015 he was the first Troy wrestler to reach a state final in nearly 40 years.
“Looking back, it’s kind of surreal,” Stephani said. “I remember some details very vividly, but it still seems like it all flew by.”
Going through the two events was a lot different than watching them as they happened from the outside.
“I think it was a lot simpler back then, and there was definitely a lot less stress,” said Stephani. “I thought wrestling was hard at time in high school, but it didn’t compare at all to college wrestling. I learned very fast the no matter what level you’re at, there’s always at least one above it. That was very evident in my first month of college wrestling.”
His strongest memory is the in between moments - the traveling and talking with coaches and teachers.
“I think the thing I remember most, though, about high school is all of the traveling I did with my dad and friends for wrestling tournaments and practice,” said Stephani. “That, and all of the people that took the time to teach me and help me, whether that be in wrestling, football, school or life.”
Stephani has a deep recollection of all his past mentors.
“I think some people under estimate sometimes how much you can influence a kid’s life, even if you only take five minutes to talk to them,” said Stephani. “I know I still talk to almost all of my coaches and some of my teacher. They all made my high school career very successful and memorable, and I hope I can return the favor to some other.”
A feared linebacker, Stephani looks back fondly on the camaraderie of his time on the grid iron.
“My best memories are probably any of them from my four years of football,” he said. “I loved that sport and all of the guys I played with.”
He also remembers his senior year of wrestling when he made the run to the state final.
“The state finals match didn’t go the way I had hoped, but if you would’ve asked me at the beginning of the year if I thought I’d even be there I probably would’ve just shrugged my shoulders,” said Stephani.
He had never made the state tournament, having taken fourth at the Northeast Regional Tournament his sophomore and junior year.
“I was lucky enough to have Brock Parcker and Joe Millard in my corner,” said Stephani. “They both believed in me more than myself, and that motivated me a lot. I know I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Stephani lost a low scoring match to South Park’s Greg Bulsak in the 170 pound final.
“When I think of the that match, I don’t know how much more I could’ve done,” he said. “I think my opponent knew exactly what he had to do and he did it well. I saw him a few times through college, too, but he was a weight class or two above me then.”
Despite the environment, to Stephani it was just another match.
“The match itself didn’t fee like anything special during it,” he said. “I just blocked everything out like normal and wrestled. Looking back, though, now I think it was a bigger deal than I realized.”
Things were the same on the football field.
“The district title was another one, that, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was,” he said. “I never really paid any attention to sports statistics or history, Troy’s especially. It’s another memory that seems like it flew by.”
The Trojans beat Mt. Carmel, Montoursville and Danville to get the title, beating the Ironmen on their own field 35-14.
“I remember the first few plays of the game and the end of it when I was down on the field with my family,” said Stephani. “That whole season was impressive looking back. I think the group of guys on that were all exceptional athletes, and most of them understood teamwork and were humble. We had to be. We had a number of kids rotating in at different positions and sometimes you got lucky and got the ball, and other times you didn’t. I was very lucky to play with all of them and have the opportunity to win a district title with them.”
After graduating high school Stephani wrestled at Bucknell University where he studied civil engineering.
“I made a lot of friends through the sport, and, looking back, I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I could go through it all again,” he said. “It was a lot of late nights and early mornings, but it helped shape me into who I am today.”
Stephani then went to work for Kiewit Power Constructors, a subsidiary of Kiewit Corporation.
“So far with the company I have been a field engineer and superintendent on smalls scale solar sites in Massachusetts," he said.
He’s currently working on a job called the Samson Solar Energy Center.
“Once complete, it will be the largest continuous solar farm in the United States and built in the least amount of time when compared to other solar projects,” he explained.
It’s on a 4,000 acre solar farm in Northeast Texas and consists of 2.1 million solar panels and more than 5,000 miles of cable.
“That takes up the majority of my time,” Stephani said. “It consists of that and finding time to continue hunting and fishing across the country.”
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