It’s in, then it’s out. Then back in. And now it’s out. Again.
Despite the best efforts of those involved, Greco-Roman wrestling will NOT be featured at the 2nd annual University Duals. Slated for next weekend (May 20th-21st) at the George Mason University Field House in Fairfax, Virginia, lack of participation is the apparent reasoning behind the outcome. Similar to last year’s inaugural event which showcased both international styles, Greco-Roman dual meets were to be contested between college club teams. In 2016, only four teams competed in Greco and the style was contested on the second and last day. For this year’s running of the event, freestyle was selected for Sunday, giving Greco the presumed advantage of taking place on Saturday. Unfortunately, that still wasn’t good enough for most of the squads making the trip.
“As of now, my club is the only team signed up (for Greco)”, said George Mason head coach Joe Russell, who is also one of the event’s primary organizers. “If we can get earlier approval for the facility and event next year, I’m confident we can have a viable event.”
The 2016 edition of the Duals saw freestyle, as could probably be expected, enjoy heavy numbers in terms of participation with the better part of two dozen teams. Even still, Greco being represented in the event was seen as a step forward and Russell, a longtime coach and advocate of the style, no doubt played a vital role in its inclusion. But with the hiccups that were evident in the early stages of the 2017 University Duals hovering over its planning (along with hesitance from club coaches), the hurdles were apparently too prevalent to overcome. It is a disappointing development in what was hopefully going to be another mechanism to provide college-aged athletes with an opportunity to wrestle Greco, especially since the University World Team Trials in Akron currently serves as the only event for that age-group in the country.
But like Russell acknowledges, better luck next year.