A pair of established Minnesota Storm wrestlers highlight Episode 41 as Calvin Germinaro (67 kg, 5PM #8) and Alec Ortiz (77 kg, 5PM #11) stop by to discuss their recent competitive exploits.
There are no breaks. E41 is not separated into two segments. What that means is both Stormers are engaged throughout the show.
Germinaro — Junior World Team Trials runner-up in 2019 before coming in second at two Senior National events consecutively — just picked up another silver this past week at the U23 Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska. That did not leave a fantastic taste in his mouth. Although Germinaro entered U23 on short notice, he was dissatisfied with how his performance ended, and he describes some of the reasoning behind his feelings. Germinaro also details his current work and school schedule along with what his plan will be for when the main training block for the Olympic Trials commences. A very explosive, tough, and talented competitor, Germinaro is one of the best young athletes in the United States program.
In his second appearance on the podcast, Ortiz, “The Gunslinger”, speaks to his own most recent outing which came at the US Nationals last month. It was an impressive run though additional context is required. Ortiz underwent major knee surgery nearly two years ago and returned to action in February at Cuba’s Granma Cup. Except, no one saw it, since the event did not stream. Everyone caught what transpired in Iowa. Looking stronger, more dynamic, and healthier than perhaps ever before, Ortiz finished third with his only blemish coming at the hands of teammate and two-time World Team member Patrick Smith (5PM #1).
Both athletes comment on other peripheral issues, such as how practices are run at Storm for the time being and how they might have to adapt if availability to travel and/or compete prior to the spring is hindered by pandemic restrictions. Some additional banter is included, as well, making for a fun episode featuring two highly-skilled athletes beholden to unique personalities.
A Few Highlights
Germinaro on his decision to enter the U23 Nationals
“I hadn’t been on the mat for a week and a half leading up to that. I have work, I have school, I have a lot of things going on. I bartend in downtown St. Paul, and all of my shifts start at 9:00pm and they’re late night stuff.
“Then the governor of Minnesota got on and shut down all of the bars in Minnesota at 10:00pm, effectively putting me out of a job, at least for the rest of the weekend until my schedule changes. All of the sudden, I was sitting there Tuesday night with no plans for the rest of the week and had all of my schoolwork done. So I was like, Well, I might as well hop in the car and head to Omaha.”
Germinaro on the cohesion between himself and other young 67 kilo stars
“I feel like a lot of the younger guys are closer, if you will, or are at least friends, and are more open to training with each other. At U23, we had me, Benji (Peak), Lenny Merkin, and Peyton Omania at the table next to us. We all went out to dinner. We’re all homies. I just feel like nowadays, more now than ever, guys are more open to training with each other.”
Ortiz on his approach at the Nationals
“I would like to think that I probably did look a little bit better. I felt like I had more intention with the way I was wrestling. I like action. I like to make things happen. I was never the guy in high school to take a guy down and cut him (let him up). If you’re better, be better, and end the match. So, getting after it is something that has always been a focus of mine.
“Obviously, I would have liked to have gone to the finals. I want to win the whole thing. But it was that reaffirming feeling again of, Okay, I can still do this. I’m still at this level. Hearing some folks say that I did look better — and I felt like I wrestled better tactically than I had in the past — it was a good relief and a good milestone, and a familiar one. And a very welcomed one in that, Okay, I’m still here. I can still do this.”
Ortiz on how he felt physically afterwards
“I felt pretty good. We drove back that night, actually. I want to say that I went for a run. Maybe not the next day, I think I did some yoga the next day. But overall, body, health, I felt good. Surprisingly good.”