As has become custom, a contingent of US Greco Roman wrestlers is filling up the fall schedule with some overseas flavor. First, a group of Northern Michigan athletes is heading over to Panama City, Panama for the Eduardo Campbell Cup, which takes place on October 15th. After that, a prolonged stay in Sweden is on the docket for later in the month, as the trip stretches from October 26th all the way through November 7th. What is usually a more compressed visit to the country has been extended with increased chances for American wrestlers to gain valuable international experience and apparently, athletes took notice.
“This trip went through the ceiling,” agrees Rob Hermann, head coach of the Northern Michigan-Olympic Training Site. “They added Seniors this year and also a tournament. Last year we went to one tournament and a camp. This year, we have a tournament, a camp, and then another tournament.” Sweden has become both a familiar destination and a close ally for the US Greco Roman program as a whole, hosting various training opportunities and events. This year’s tour sees Sweden helping out once again.
“Sweden is taking care of the first 18 room and board, which is pretty much everyone from our room,” says Hermann. “It’s a great situation, a great relationship, and these are the same people who came to our Superior Camp.”
Along with Hermann, Wisconsin’s Lucas Steldt is also on board as a coach. Steldt, you may remember, is the founder of the Combat Wrestling Club in Wisconsin and who recently launched the High Performance Greco Roman Technical Tactical Training program. This trip overseas is part of his new directive to involve age-group wrestlers with serious Greco training. All in all, the two coaches will be presiding over some 27 athletes, with 18 coming from NMU.
A vast number of rising stars are making the trip. 2016 University National champions Austin Morrow (66 kg, NMU-OTS), Jesse Porter (75 kg, NYAC-NMU) and G’Angelo Hancock (98 kg, NYAC-OTC) are particularly notable, as the trio was set to compete in the University World Championships in October. However, USA Wrestling cancelled the trip due to fears regarding security in Turkey. Hancock, a 2016 US Senior National Team member, took bronze last month at the 2016 Junior World Championships in Macon, France.
Blasting back into Greco competition in Sweden is Kendrick Sanders (NYAC-OTS). Sanders, who last took the mat at the 2016 Olympic Team Trials, initially had his sights set on moving forward with a career in MMA. Those plans are on hold at least for now, as the two-time Schultz Memorial and Bill Farrell champion has returned to the OTS where his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“He’s back and he’s training harder than ever,” Hermanna says of Sanders. “He’s training even harder than he did last year, which is surprising. He hasn’t missed a practice and he is on a mission. Kendrick left some stuff out there and feels like he hasn’t even touched his potential yet.”
Another interesting entrant on the NMU side of things is Alston Nutter, the dynamic high school junior who left his home state of Wisconsin to get an early start on full-time Greco Roman training. Nutter will be competing at 59 kilograms when he takes the mat in Scandinavia.
Joining the Northern Michigan faction will be a collection of Cadet wrestlers. Cadets do not typically have very many opportunities to train and compete with foreign partners, a factor many pointed to a couple of weeks ago following that age group’s World Championships in Georgia, where not one US wrestler managed to earn a medal. “We’ve got eight Cadets going, which is nice,” Hermann says. “We don’t do enough for the Cadets and some kids could make it happen with school and everything else, so it’s looking good.”
Between Panama and Sweden, October offers a glimpse at what lies ahead for US age-group wrestlers interested in pursuing the Greco path. Travel across the Atlantic with the chance to see how you stack up against international opponents is clearly a primary part of the experience. But as Hermann is quick to remind, these trips are important for all American Greco Roman wrestlers looking to improve.
“Hancock just became a bronze medalist, this is what you have to do. You have to get overseas and put the work in. You’ve got to pay your dues. Wrestlers in the United States who want to compete against opponents from around the world need to know this option is out there for them. All they have to do is give me a call.”
US Greco Roman Wrestlers – Sweden 2016 Tour Roster & Information
Klippan Cup — October 29th, Klippan, Sweden (*Seniors only) Malar Cup — November 4th-6th, Vasteras, Sweden
Coaches: Robb Hermann (NMU-OTS), Lucas Steldt (Combat/HPGT3) Trainer: Jim Kliomovich
59kg – Jordan Auen
59 kg – Alston Nutter
66 kg – Zack Krapf
66 kg – Austin Morrow
66 kg – Aaron Kliamovich
71 kg – Logan Kass
71 kg – Colin Schubert
75 kg – Michael Donato
75 kg – David Prado
75 kg – Jesse Porter
75 kg – Corey Fitzgerald
80 kg – Giuseppe Rios
80 kg – Kendrick Sanders
85 kg – Austin Choan
98 kg – Anthony Riopelle
98 kg – G’Angelo Hancock
98 kg – Blake Smith
98 kg – Spenser Wilson
50 kg – Joshua Frye
50 kg – Hunter Lewis
59 kg – Jordan Martinez
59 kg – Eric Spence
63 kg – Logan Hatch
66 kg – Riley Briggs
66 kg – Britton Holmes
84 kg – Tommy Brackett