On the heels of what was an exhilarating first day of action at the Junior Worlds that showcased the special talents of Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) and Alston Nutter (63 kg, Sunkist/OTS), Engel took a time out while in Tallinn (Estonia) to answer a few questions, though there was a lot to dig into. There was Schultz, who advanced to tomorrow’s final; and then Nutter, who toppled two skilled, experienced foes back-to-back to make the semis and will be competing for bronze.
Engel speaks to the performances of both athletes below, and also touches on how the proceedings might affect Day 2’s batch of athletes.
5PM: What impressed you most about Cohlton today, especially after watching him take bronze here a year ago?
Nate Engel: Cohlton really impressed me with his poise this year. He was so confident, you could tell as soon as the whistle blew. He’s a veteran and it shows when he walks out onto the mat. He stuck to his game plan and executed it to a tee. Cohlton is a leader on this team. I’m really excited for him tomorrow night to go out and get the gold medal. He’s ready.
5PM: Nutter took out two very good opponents back-to-back and is staring at a chance to win bronze. Describe your feeling about him this year compared to last, and also, what do you think is the biggest difference?
Engel: Nutter came out on fire. He was ready to go. I think being a year older and not getting what he wanted last year, he knew what he had to do. Nutter made his opponents wrestle in his positions. He also never gave up even when he was almost dead to rights. He went out there and fought for six minutes every match and put himself in spots to score points. I was really proud of him. Lucas Steldt is one of the best coaches in the country and it shows when his athletes wrestle on the biggest stages. He I’ll be ready tomorrow night for his bronze match.
5PM: You said you were hoping for momentum going into Day 2 and now you’ve got it. Are the Day 2 guys charged up after what they saw today?
Engel: Yeah, we definitely have some momentum going into Day 2. The five new guys are ready. They got to see what it takes. We have to go out and fight from the start of the whistle. You watch what happened today and the guys who made it far wrestled their match and executed a plan. So, they know what they need to do. I’m excited for them. Cam (Caffey) got another chance to fight back to bronze tomorrow and I know he will do his best and leave it on the mat. Schultz and Nutter will be ready tomorrow night. It’s a great time to be a Greco-Roman fan.