Following the conclusion of last weekend’s Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Croatia, the delegation of USA Greco-Roman Seniors took a day-long breather and then trekked some 350 kilometers northeast to Budapest, Hungary. And that’s where they have been ever since.
The first week of training camp in Hungary is now in the books, there is one week still to go, and it all leads up to next weekend’s 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, United World Wrestling’s second “Ranking Series” tournament of the year. Traditionally one of the toughest annual Senior events on the calendar, the Hungarian GP’s level of competition is being ratcheted up yet another notch with all of them coveted ranking points up for grabs, or so it seems judging by the entry list.
But while that is all important — and we’ll get to it — what is of greater priority at the current moment is the ongoing camp in Budapest. Prior to Zagreb, we asked a handful of US stars what makes the Hungarian camps such a hotly-desired destination. The intensity, amount of live (wrestling), and the bevy of available high-level training partners all made the cut. Therefore, you won’t be shocked to learn that those same reasons were (nearly) unanimously mentioned this time around, as well.
Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS)
“Week 1 was a grind, a good old fashioned grind. It’s what I need — tons of partners and plenty of live. Saturday we had some time to work individually, which was nice.
“Week 2 is only one structured practice a day and the second practice is up to the delegations. The schedules appears to be high intensity but quick practices, ideal for a week with a competition. The plan is to wrestle hard all week, keep an eye on the weight, and be ready for the weekend, both physically and mentally.”
Travis Rice (63 kg, IRTC)
“Week 1 has gone really well. We did a lot of live, “fight exercises”, and different situational wrestling. Everything has been going really well. Tough training and tough partners.
“The big difference between last week and this coming week is the volume and intensity. There will be one practice per day compared to two.”
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Patrick Smith (77 kg, Minnesota Storm)
“Week 1 was exactly what I came here for: a lot of high-level partners and a lot of volume. I’ve got Viktor Nemes (SRB), Tamas Lorincz (HUN), Martin Szabo (HUN), and more.
“Week 2 will be slightly less volume but still a lot of opportunity to get some good work in. I’m really glad I was able to get on this trip.”
G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world no. 12)
“Week 1 — morning, live; afternoon, live; wake us up in our sleep, live. 😂
“Week 2 — one practice a day…live.”
Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC/Chicago RTC)
“Week 1 of the camp was great. I have loved having so many training partners. There are 10 heavyweights here, so it has been great. The camp has been difficult but good. A lot of live wrestling in the first week, so it has been nice to get a lot of work in with these foreign training partners.
“For preparation of the tournament, they have knocked down the practices to one per day, and then we’re heading to the tournament on Friday.”