As an experienced wrestler, Greens Farms Academy alumnus Nico Provo ’21 knows a match can change in just a single moment. Now he knows such things can happen in life, as well.
Earlier this month, Provo—who was named the 2021 Connecticut winner of the prestigious Dave Schultz Award, signifying him as the state’s best high school wrestler—announced he would attend Stanford University in the fall.
Provo had previously committed to wrestle at Cornell University, announcing as early 2019 of his decision.
“Things were different when I committed in 2019,” Provo said. “It’s a very unique situation. I decided to explore the option and it came to fruition.”
The main thing that precipitated the change was when former Cornell Head Coach Rob Koll, who had recruited Provo to the New York-based school, left the Big Red and took over the program at Stanford. Provo had a strong connection with Koll and Stanford had been previously on his radar. The former Dragons standout decided to look again at the prestigious California-based school.
“It was a school I was looking at before and I had an official visit scheduled, but I cancelled it after Cornell,” Provo said. “You can’t go to Stanford and not like it. It’s one of the top institutions in the world. The PAC-12 is a tough conference. I just decided to hit the nail with the hammer.”
In the end, he said, his relationship with his next coach meant too much to him.
“Coach Koll recruited me, and I was really close to him,” Provo said. “He was great with my parents and he’s a really good guy. He cares about you as a person. It’s not just about wrestling with him.”
The time-table for Provo’s collegiate career is also changing. While he’ll head to Palo Alto to start classes in September, he will not be rostered on Stanford’s team until the fall of 2022.
“I’m taking a gap year,” Provo explained.
The Stanford program almost ceased to exist after last season as it was initially one of the sports on the chopping block due to the financial damage COVID-19 caused so many college athletic departments around the country. On May 18, it was announced by the school that enough private money had been raised to save the wrestling program, and 10 other sports.
The rebirth of the Stanford program is something that also excites Provo.
“It was big time in the wrestling community,” Provo said. “There are a lot of new guys at Stanford and they’re hungry and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Provo graduated from GFA has one of the most accomplished student-athletes in the history of the school.
He is a two-time national champ in two different weight classes and a three-time All-American. He is also a three-time New England Prep School champ, going 3-for-3 since it wasn't held in his senior year.