Boris Novachkov, who was a three-time All-American wrestler at Cal Poly, won an event in Turkey on Sunday and qualified to wrestle in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Novachkov, the Cal Poly Male Athlete of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year, took the gold medal at the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier in Istanbul, and will represent Bulgaria in the 65-kilogram (143-pound) weight class in freestyle wrestling. He holds dual citizenship in Bulgaria and the United States.
He beat former Penn State wrestler Frank Molinaro, the 2012 NCAA champion and four-time All-American, 5-2, in the quarterfinals Sunday, then defeated Belarus’ Azamat Nurykau 8-2 in the semifinals.
In the finals, Novachkov won the gold medal when Canada’s Haislan Antonion Veranes Garcia defaulted because of injury.
Novachkov opened with a 6-0 win over Dejan Mitrov of Macedonia, then followed with a 6-2 triumph over Dauren Zhumagazyyev of Kazakhstan.
Novachkov trains at the University of Illinois under former Cal Poly wrestling coach Mark Perry. In his collegiate career, Novachkov posted a 121-33 record, was a two-time Pac-12 champion and was the NCAA tournament runner-up at 141 pounds in 2011. He also finished third in the 2012 NCAA tournament.