USA Greco

Nowry & Hooker Talk Armed Forces Mentality

max nowry and michael hooker discusss 2019 armed forces championships
Photo: Armed Forces Sports

Earlier today, we released a brief preview of tomorrow’s 2019 Armed Forces Championships to be held at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. The focus was on what everyone assumes will be the deciding dual meet (yet again), Army versus the Marines. Four potentially key matchups were identified shortly after lineups were confirmed due to either their perceived implications or entertainment value.

Two of the participants covered in that preview, multi-time National Team member Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP) and Michael Hooker (72 kg, Army/WCAP), took a few minutes shortly after settling in El Paso to talk about where they’re at heading into the event. For Nowry, it’ll be his first time competing since undergoing a pair of hip procedures this past fall. Hooker’s case is just as interesting. He is dropping down from 77 kilograms to 72 for the Armed Forces and it appears now that is where he will stay for the remainder of the season.

Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP)

5PM: Last time we opened this up, you were on the verge of getting cleared for this event. You felt pretty good then, but how do you feel now? Are there any limitations?

Max Nowry: I talked to you and then the next day I was going to find out if I was cleared, and from then on I figured I was just going to start easing back in. But instead, I jumped straight into practices. The only time I did kind of settle down a little bit is if I was getting sore and achy. That’s when the coaches pulled me off the mat and I’d do something else. But I pretty much just jumped right back into everything the team was doing, so that was kind of nice.

5PM: A lot of people are anticipating the dual versus the Marines. When it comes to the Army, it is the lighter weight guys who usually steal most of the attention. Are you seeing it that way, too, that the lightweights have to get off to a quick start?

Nowry: Anytime it’s talked about, Coach (Shon) Lewis says that it starts at 55 kilos and ends at 130. Everyone has to carry their own weight. It’s not really stressed as a team-wide thing, it’s more on the individual. The way he says it is, as long as everyone carrying their rucks and worrying about getting their own jobs done.

5PM: For you personally, what does this mean for you in terms of the rest of the season? After this event, do you take your foot off the pedal a little bit until April? Or are you going to try to find something to do before then?

Nowry: At this point in time, I’ve been contemplating this for the last week and a half or so and I think I am going to try to take at least two weeks and taper it down, and get back to my physical therapy. Because, I had planned on getting back on the mat once per day and then using the other practice to rehab. But once I jumped into it, I jumped into it all the way and took a step back from my rehab.

So after this, I am going to go back to my rehab and make sure both sides are strengthening up equally. And then come the end of the March, I’ll jump back into it just like I did this time around. I have this, then it’s the Pan Ams, and the week after that is the Nationals. I’ll have that month and a half in between competitions.

Michael Hooker (72 kg, Army/WCAP)

5PM: Let’s talk about the weight for a second. Is this the only event you’re going back down to 72 for?

Michael Hooker: I don’t know. The thing is, I’ve already lost the weight. Usually, I don’t actually cut weight, I lose weight, especially with the same-day weigh-ins. It’s like, Ah, I’ve already lost the weight, so I either have to go three kilos up or two kilos down. Either gain three kilos or lose two kilos.

5PM: Does that mean you’d also go 72 for the World Team Trials?

Hooker: Yes, I’d be going 72 for the rest of the season.

5PM: We’ll assume that Ray Bunker is going to be your opponent on Saturday, and he’s done a great job of improving really quickly. Does the opponent matter to you at all? What I mean by that, is do you just keep the same mindset regardless of your opposition is, or do you hone in on who it might be, in this case Bunker, individually?

Hooker: Well, you always want to scout out who your opponents might be, that’s a given. You want to be ready for anything, basically. You’re ready for all contingency plans. If they send out Bunker, great. If not, Coach Lewis makes sure we all watch film on our potential opponents so we can be prepared for anything.

5PM: I know how high of a priority this is for the Army program, but is this a year-to-year thing or is there talk about making sure you just keep the streak going?

Hooker: It’s not as much about the streak as it is the future. It’s about making sure that we keep up the legacy for the people behind us while helping out the people going forward who we won’t see anymore. Coach Lewis and Coach (Spenser) Mango always emphasize the people who laid the groundwork to make WCAP what it is. Our job is to continue that and make it better for the people coming behind us. We might never see it, but we’re just making it better for the next guy down the line, whoever that might be.

That’s what is really discussed, it isn’t about the streak. Making sure you take care of your job until one day when someone else can take over, like the people who will come after us.

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