Brimming with passion, heartbreak and triumph, the NCAA Championships is undoubtedly one of the most emotionally gripping tournaments a wrestler, fan, or FloFilms producer can experience. Speaking as the latter, I know this firsthand.
This year, we tagged along with the Cinderella story of the year, North Carolina State, to document their road to the NCAA tournament.
When you embed yourself with a team, you experience the emotional swings of their wins and losses. When you spend time with people leading up to such a big event, travel with them, and experience the entire tournament at their side, you get to know them. You form personal connections with them. You almost feel as though you are a part of that team.
When we followed Missouri last year, I thought I harbored those feelings because it was my alma mater. But as I discovered with the Wolfpack, I'm going to experience the same feelings with any team we follow, and we captured them on film for you to experience, too.
Coach Pat Popolizio opened his doors to us for an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Although their NCAA tournament appearance didn't match the amazing regular season they had, North Carolina State is a program on the brink of true greatness. When you look at the progress the Wolfpack has made under their new head coach, Pat Popolizio, it seems more than likely that they will have continued success.
Below, you can a look at what to expect in All-Access North Carolina State: Running With The Wolves. Episode One airs tomorrow.
MSG: The NC State team outside of Madison Square Garden the first morning of the NCAA Championships.
How much time was left before the NCAA Championships when we showed up in Raleigh, NC.
Michael Boykin gives a funny look into the camera during practice the Monday before NCAA's.
We Have Arrived
An arrival tweet from Kevin Jack?
The Big Apple
The team out and about in New York City.
Assistant coach Frank Beasley gets to be Nick Gwiazdowski's dummy for a series of lift-and-returns.
Pat Popolizio joined some of the top coaches in the nation in this year's coaches press conference the day before the tournament started.
Nick Gwiazdowski and Kyle Snyder square off before their epic NCAA heavyweight battle.
The Thrill of Victory
Pete Renda came into the tournament seeded #13 and finished third.
Tommy Gantt preparing for a big match.
The Agony of Defeat
Tommy Gantt comes to the realization of broken dreams after a loss that leaves him unable to win an NCAA title.
The Calm Before The Storm
NC State coach Obe Blanc massages Nick Gwiazdowski before his finals match against Kyle Snyder.
Nick Gwiazdowski and Pat Popolizio moments after the greatest heavyweight match of all time.
Celebrate a Great Season
Though they fell short of their goals at the NCAA Championshps, the NC State wrestling program can't lose sight of the amazing run they went on during the 2015-2016 NCAA wrestling season. Coach Pop gave praise to all during their post tournament social.