Episode 17 of the Five Point Move Podcast brings us to the 2018 US Senior Greco-Roman World Team Trials, the most important domestic event of the year. There are a couple of items co-host Dennis Hall addresses pertaining to the Trials, in particular, how much he enjoys the US system that sees a best-of-three finals series determine each winner. In addition, Hall shares a few memories from his competitive days, including which Trials tournaments meant the most to him throughout his career.
Once again, two guests highlight the program. First up is Williams Baptist College head coach Jonathan Drendel. With the inaugural season of the WBC Greco team about to come to an end, Drendel talks about the recent performances of his charges as well as some of the lessons he has learned since taking over the reigns.
Next up is two-time World Team member Cheney Haight (82 kg, NYAC), who joined the show hours before he hopped on a flight to Tulsa. Following the 2017 World Championships in Paris, it was widely assumed that Haight’s career had reached its endpoint. But — he came back three months later for the Dave Schultz Memorial and wound up competing in two other events this spring. In March, Haight was a runner-up at the Bill Farrell Memorial and then three weeks later, placed third at the US Open. Haight explains what drew him back to the sport, how he is plans on approaching competition going forward, and whether he prefers skiing or snowboarding having grown up in Utah.
A few highlights
Hall on why he prefers the US Trials system over how some other countries select their teams
“Some pick their guys and screw people. I don’t agree with that. Okay, here’s a typical example of what some countries do. Aghasi Manukyan won the (Soviet) Nationals in 1988, and because he was from Armenia, they took a different guy to the Olympics. Because, they could only have so many Armenians on the team.
“The best guy performs. I mean, that’s my thought process. You know what? You’ve got to be ready for the day you’re competing. If you get caught, you get caught. Then you weren’t the best guy that day.”
Drendel on knowing he was going to have to argue with officials more
“The reality is, the folkstyle rules are a lot more stable than the Greco rules. I think everyone knows that, it’s not a big surprise to anyone. There is a lot less consistency in the way our rules are called, and I understood coming in that there was going to be a lot of frustration with the way matches are refereed. Understanding that has allowed me to approach things differently, and also, understanding that I’m going to see these refs at every single tournament. There’s no sense in creating a bad name for myself. I hope I haven’t, because these guys are going to see me and they are only human. So I try to keep my composure the best I can.”
Haight on deciding to continue his career
“I guess when I was wrestling at Schultz, mostly the only reason why I wrestled in that was because it was in my hometown. I was actually kind of thinking I was retired at the end (of last season). With the new weigh-ins, I wasn’t interested in cutting weight, I was just missing wrestling a little bit and it sounded fun to compete. And then I did it a couple of times, and the more I got into it throughout the year, the more I realized I missed it. I still have fun with it. So I thought, if I was going to go to the (2018) Trials, I needed to wrestle at the weight I am. I always walk around at like 84, 85 kilos. I just think knowing I was going to jump back into it made me want to go down (in weight).”