One of the buzz terms readers may notice a lot on this platform is “relevant overseas experience.” So, what does this phrase actually mean and why does it matter?
For starters (and ignoring the obvious subjectivity associated with a term like “relevant”), it means an athlete has traveled to another country (typically in Europe) and participated in camps and tournaments. Simple. One trip across the Atlantic might qualify an athlete’s overseas experience as viable; it’s unlikely, especially at the Cadet age group or below. But we’ll count it. However, two or more trips indicate a high level of interest in learning authentic Greco-Roman as well as a legitimate zeal to take that knowledge further in effort to apply it towards one’s future.
Back to why it matters: because in the United States, wrestlers typically do not get anything close to resembling a “head start” in Greco-Roman. Even if a youth competitor spends each and every spring training the international styles, he or she is still comfortably behind the curve compared to the rest of the planet. It is certainly true that a handful of other countries do possess their own native wrestling disciplines much like the US does with folkstyle. But very, very few of these nations’ elite athletes ever spend a substantial portion of their formative years bothering around in anything besides Greco or freestyle.
Half of the 2018 US Cadet Greco-Roman World Team is comprised of athletes who have competed internationally, and some more than others. 45-kilogram Trials champ Cale Anderson (WI) earned a silver medal at the Tallinn Open in Estonia this past March — and his foreign knowledge is considerably lighter than a couple of his teammates. Like say, Hunter Lewis (55 kg, WI), who has been overseas at this point in his life more than some Seniors. Brendan Chaowanapibool (48 kg, WA) does a bulk of his Greco training in Idaho under Ivan Delchev and is no stranger to strange lands. 2017 Fargo National champ Phillip Moomey (60 kg, NE) was in Estonia with Anderson and Lewis. Dominic Damon (65 kg, WA) flew over to Serbia and Croatia last summer and then hopped on board the vast NMU tour of Sweden in the fall where he garnered a bronze at the Malar Cupen along with a huge win in the USA/Team Skåne Brottning dual meet.
This is not to say that there should be a preference shown just to those age-groupers who acquire passport stamps. Not every kid or family has the time or financial wherewithal to embark on one of these international excursions, and it certainly doesn’t mean that a youth wrestler who is without previous foreign experience can’t compete at the World level. So long as age groupers are guided by coaches who are armed with a professional-level understanding of international training and competition, chances are they’ll be just fine.
The Burks brothers — Jakason (51 kg) and James (71 kg) — have themselves just this kind of coach. Both wrestlers train at Nebraska’s MWC, which is owned by multi-time World Team coach Zac Dominguez (who in 2018 will be leading the Seniors with two-time Olympian Spenser Mango at the World Championships). “The Burks brothers are purely instinctual when it comes to Greco, they have no fear,” says Dominguez.
See? There’s more than one way to do all of this. But we also cannot pretend that five athletes with prior relevant overseas experience making a World Team is just a coincidence, either.
The 2018 Cadet Greco-Roman World Championships begin July 2nd in Zagreb, Croatia.
TEAM USA (roster is tentative)
45 kg: Cale Anderson (WI)
48 kg: Brendan Chaowanapibool (WA)
51 kg: Jakason Burks (NE)
55 kg: Hunter Lewis (WI)
60 kg: Phillip Moomey (NE)
65 kg: Dominic Damon (WA)
71 kg: James Burks (NE)
80 kg: Abe Assad (IL)
92 kg: Jacob Kaminski (IL)
110 kg: Luke Luffman (IL)
U23 World Team Trials Undercover Stars
Unlike the Cadets, members of the U23 World Team have to wait quite a while until their World tournament kicks of this coming November in Romania. That’s fine, nothing wrong with more prep time.
But, as always, there are additional items to dig into following Akron aside from lifting up only those who made the Team. There were inspired performances elsewhere worthy of acknowledgement for one reason or another, and we’ll do that right now with a sneak preview of a new regular feature coming your way called Five & Five.
5 Silver Medalists
Fritz Schierl (77 kg, Unattached) — Schierl got his doors blown off by 2017 U23 World Team member Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS) in the second finals match, so it’s probably difficult to get that out of your head. Try to do so. Schierl had a moment or two in their first bout when it was easy to forget that he was merely moonlighting. Leading up to the best-of-three series, Schierl unleashed a blitzing offensive attack that demonstrated he’d have a home in this style if he wants one.
Roy Nash (97 kg, NMU/OTS) — He doesn’t even really know what he’s doing yet. Sit on that for a second. But Nash, for all of his rawness, presents very real problems for people, problems that will only grow more profound as his skill-set does. He scored a nice tech fall over Joseph Munro (Marines) before his semifinal bout with Blake Smith (OTC), and though G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) iced the proceedings with two straight tech’s, Nash didn’t just lay down. He’s a big, strong guy who for now is more of a brawler than anything else, but he’s learning quickly.
Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) — It’s practically cliché to throw a guy like Roberts into this mix given his laundry list of accomplishments and the fact he is already in the Senior Trials finals. Nothing about Roberts’s result was all that surprising — he was expected to stomp to the final and he did. But when an athlete makes three Trials best-of-three series in a row, and his fifth in sixth tries counting Juniors, someone should be talking about what that actually represents.
Andrew Berreyesa (82 kg, FLWC) — You’re looking for consistent steps up from an athlete like Berreyesa. For some reason, he never finds himself with newbies to tangle with, he’s always in an area of the bracket where he will be challenged. It was that way again on Friday, as Chandler Rogers (CRTC/TMWC) gave him all he could handle seemingly out of nowhere. Coming off of folkstyle season, Berreyesa has made two straight domestic finals and will be awaiting the winner of the Trials Challenge tournament this weekend. That is a step up.
Jabari Moody (55 kg, NYAC) — Two straight losses to Dalton Duffield (NMU/OTS) are nothing for 2018 Senior Open semifinalist Moody to hang his head about. He’s a gifted wrestler who is pretty new to this level but is still somehow able to neutralize opponents’ strengths by offering a fiery arsenal of attacks from various positions. Some of that got him into trouble Friday, but this is his style, at least for now. As long as the aggression isn’t coached out of him, Moody should be headed for a bright future.
5 Bronze Medalists
Britton Holmes (67 kg, NMU/OTS) — Holmes was eventual champ Nolan Baker‘s (NIRTC) first victim of the morning on Friday, succumbing to a headlock-to-fall not many saw coming. But the Northern athlete dusted himself off in time to pick up three tech’s in the consolation bracket, including one over 2017 University National champ Wesley Dawkins (GWC).
Blake Smith (97 kg, OTC) — A jacked ankle at the end of the first period against Nash in the semis put ’17 U23 World Teamer Smith in a bad way and he defaulted out of the running shortly into the second. He required one helluva tape job to be able to continue — and he did — going virtually untouched in his next two bouts en-route to bronze.
Brett Bye (72 kg, LOG) — Bye and Dre-Son Scruggs (Utah Valley RTC) combined for 28 points in the quarters before Bye scored a fall. Returning champ Alex Mossing (Air Force RTC) ended his hopes of a finals appearance in the semis and then the South Dakotan tech’ed his way to third place. In his four wins on Friday, Bye outscored the opposition 39-14 with three tech’s and a pin. The people like scorers.
Sean Sesnan (55 kg, WBC) — He still has a ways to go to gain the requisite oomph necessary to compete as a Senior, but Sesnan is a Junior, anyway. Akron was his second medal; Sesnan also earned a silver at the Farrell but it was only he and Elijah Varona (Garage Boyz) in the bracket. This time around, the kid had to put in work and he was up for the challenge. Sesnan ended the day with a go-get-it 9-1 tech over Marine Jemone Carter.
Chandler Rogers (82 kg, CRTC/TMWC) — A freestyler at heart (unfortunately), Rogers was all kinds of impressive on Friday. In his semifinal loss to Andrew Berreyesa (FLWC), Rogers stormed back from a 5-0 deficit with a takedown and consecutive trap-arm guts to take a temporary 6-5 lead. Berreyesa wound up the victor on criteria later, spitting Rogers in the consolation round where he upended uber-prospect Tommy Brackett (Wave/NMU/OTS) and Spencer Woods (NMU/OTS).
Onto the Next One
The Juniors are now on deck as their World Team Trials tournament begins on Friday in Indianapolis. We will be offering a weight-by-weight preview to get you all geared up and ready to go on Thursday.
NCWA Go Greco Nationals
The 2018 NCWA Go Greco National Championships are scheduled for this Saturday, June 9th and take place at Richland College in Dallas, Texas. Early registration has long since ended. As of now, the cost is $50 to enter the tournament and day-of will set you back $65.
WRESTLERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Your (somewhat) weekly dose of inspiring words, knuckleheaded antics, or thought-provoking questions from your favorite US Greco-Roman athletes and coaches.
“Baby ribs” is probably not a compliment.
The few, the proud, the side lifts.
Mondays are never an excuse to have a bad training day. The All-Marine Wrestlers are ready to give out AMWT Sky Miles at the World Team Trials in 2 week. Does anyone want a free flight? #MotivationMonday #AMWT #AMWTSkyMiles #AllMarineWrestling #USMC #USMCWrestling #Marines #MarineCorps #Oorah #SemperFi #USAWrestling #UWW #Flowrestling #FivePointMove
12 unanswered points with :15 to go in Match 2.
— Travis Rice (@Trav_Nas_Rice) June 2, 2018
Third career World Team.
— Randon (@randontheguy) June 1, 2018
It’s like most of these dudes all train together or something.
I cried like a baby when I got this. pic.twitter.com/S3Jliy6B5f
— Dalton Duffield (@DaltonDuffield) June 1, 2018
PMart pumped up for donuts, apparently.