Another Fargo has come and gone and just like every other year, you can’t help but be seduced by the unbelievable potential present at the gigantic tournament. It is heartening to see, all of the enthusiasm and talent crammed into one event. On the Greco side of things, you just wish that there were more mechanisms available to carry the momentum over from Fargo and make it last a little longer. It’s difficult to do that, obviously, especially when the multi-day tournament serves as a sort of grand finale for the international styles at the age-group level. The build up starts in the spring with the various state qualifiers, moves into the early-summer with the National Duals and then by the time July hits, Greco fever has settled in. Wrestlers, parents, coaches, and fans who aren’t usually enthralled with the classical style get caught up in the multitude of big throws and exciting bouts.
But there are certainly ways to push forward and offer Greco-Roman training on a consistent basis even after Fargo, and that’s a big part of what Gary Mayabb is setting out to do. Mayabb is interested in enlisting the help of Greco coaches from around the country in effort to build a network centered around education and training opportunities. If you’ve been reading the Coach Lindland reports, you know that this is something that has been on his mind for a while, as well. Greco as a seasonal-only proposition gives the style a sizable disadvantage when it comes to marketing itself to age-group athletes and coaches, simply because they only get to dive in a limited amount. But what if there are periodic seminars and training camps throughout the year during what is normally considered “folkstyle season”? Then the narrative changes. Coaches who used to have to brush up on their Greco-Roman knowledge will become better prepared to provide their kids with proper instruction. And kids who transition into the international styles again every March will no longer feel as though they are re-learning an entire curriculum.
Fargo is a special event as it is. But imagine what it could look like if the majority of wrestlers cramming up the brackets possess a higher level of skill and are more comfortable with the ruleset? There will be less one-sided affairs across the board, especially in the earlier rounds. And in turn, what is really happening, is that the level of Greco as a whole throughout the country will be raised considerably. The proficiency of one age group makes the next one up stronger, something the US is certainly in need of.
It’s something to think about. If Fargo does anything, it demonstrates just how gifted so many of America’s most devout wrestlers are. But for the Greco community, it is a reminder that there is much more work to be done on and off the mat. Thankfully, the sleeves are now rolled up.
Senior World Team Camp Opens in Springs
The 2017 US Greco-Roman World Team kicked off their two-week camp earlier today in Colorado Springs, as you might have heard. This is it — this is the last training camp, the last dance, as it were. After camp wraps up on August 4th, the next step for the Seniors will be flying out to Montpellier, France for acclimation ahead of the team’s final destination, Paris and the World Championships.
We are going to have reports coming at you each week from two Senior World Teamers — Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC) and Mason Manville (75 kg, Army/WCAP). They are going to provide their perspectives on the camp, what they’ve been working on, and just generally trying to help keep you up-to-date on what’s happening at the Olympic Training Center. In addition, Patrick Smith (71 kg, Minnesota Storm) has pledged to help spread the word. When Pat went over to Sweden for a couple few months back in the winter, he was kind enough to participate in what we called the “Patrick Smith Sweden Tour Journal“, so that is what we’ll be doing this time around, too.
Juniors Getting Ready for Tampere
The Juniors will actually be first up when it comes to the trio of Greco-Roman World Championships this summer, as they get going August 5th in Tampere, Finland. This year’s squad is ridiculously stacked, leading US National Team head coach Matt Lindland to say, “On paper, this is one of the best teams we’ve ever sent to the World Championships.” He’s not wrong. There are four returning World Team members, including two who were bronze medalists last year in Taylor LaMont (60 kg, Sunkist) and G’Angelo Hancock (96 kg, Sunkist, world no. 17).
Kamal Bey (74 kg, Sunkist) and Randon Miranda (55 kg, NYAC-OTS) might not have gotten on the podium in 2016, but both have made big impressions since then. Bey picked up wins at the Bill Farrell Memorial, the US Senior Open, the Dave Schultz Memorial, and the Austrian Open to go along with a bronze at the exceedingly-tough Grand Prix of Zagreb Open before turning in a runner-up performance to Manville at the World Team Trials. Miranda, undersized just a bit at the Senior weight class of 59 kilos, gained valuable experience against the country’s most hardened competitors and repeated as champ at the Junior World Team Trials and the Junior Greco-Roman World Duals, respectively. Miranda went 1-2 last year in Macon, France and put forth a good effort against top competition. But he’s an altogether different beast this time around, so expect something special out of him in Finland, as well.
We will have much more on the US Juniors as we close in on the action coming down the pike next week.
What’s coming up here
- Yes, we are pivoting back to the Seniors as World Team camp heats up, so we will be talking with Coach Lindland about that along with getting his thoughts on Fargo and everything else that has been going on lately.
- Two-time Olympian Spenser Mango and 2012 University World Champion Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) provided their insights regarding the performances of a few recent full-time Greco commits at Fargo and why that event presents such a stark contrast to full-time Greco-Roman training.
- An outstanding interview with 2017 Fargo Nationals winner Andrew Berreyesa, who called us out for not including him in our recap for the Juniors. No problem — Berreyesa is a dedicated Greco athlete as well as just an overall extremely passionate and intelligent individual. He goes into great detail about what his thought process was leading up to Fargo and how he visualized what was about to happen before it did. Berreyesa is going off to Cornell after the summer, so he also talks about how important that part of his wrestling journey is to him at this stage in his career.
- EVERYONE LOVES NATHAN — Former US National Team member and current Naval Academy assistant coach Nate Engel will join the podcast this week to discuss his bronze medal performance at the Maccabi Games, Fargo champs who stood out, and a host of other topics.