A few hours ago, we released the entire US tour roster for this week’s trip to Sweden that will include a tournament, a camp, a dual meet, and another tournament all crammed into roundabout ten days. These jaunts over to Scandinavia have become a tradition for Northern Michigan Greco-Roman wrestlers thanks in large part to head coach Rob Hermann, who is one of this country’s staunchest advocates for international training and competition.
Each year, this fall Sweden tour has grown and it is now to the point where the interest level has reached critical mass. Simply put, the trip is at capacity. Earlier today, Hermann said: “I had to cut it off. I would have more but I can’t take 40 people over there, Sweden can’t handle it. We take a commercial bus from Kilppan to Västerås for the Malar Cupen and they would have had to take another bus, and we were capped out last year. So I actually had to cut it off, I had to turn some people away, which I don’t like to do.” (We’ll have more with Hermann regarding the Sweden tour and other topics in the first NMU Greco Report later this week.)
That the tour is “capped out” is not a bad thing. 18 of the wrestlers going over train at Northern Michigan — no surprise there. But the remaining 13 are age-groupers who reside elsewhere around the US. It is becoming a destination trip, a must-do, and that is exactly what the United States Greco-Roman program is looking for out of its next generation coming down the pike.
Randon Miranda (55 kg, NYAC/OTS) put it best pertaining to the overall benefits trips like the one this week have to offer. “Going overseas I think is something kids need to do, especially in America and for Greco,” said Miranda. “Britton Holmes, Benji Peak, and Alston Nutter, they are already on the international scene as young kids. They get different feels and can pummel better than some of the Americans who don’t know how to. They have more international experience and when they come back here, they have more to show everybody else. Then it passes on and that’s how the country gets better in general, with everyone passing on their knowledge.”
Schultz next week
Next week is the second 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial, since the tournament has essentially switched places with the longstanding Bill Farrell Memorial/NYAC Open this fall. Obviously, any Senior Greco-Roman event held in the United States is in and of itself reason to watch, but this one has several other factors working in its favor.
- The new weights and the new weigh-in format.
No question, this is one of the event’s main attractions. United World Wrestling is implementing the new weight classes and weigh-in procedures for all tournaments on the schedule come 2018, providing the Dave Schultz Memorial with the unique ability to serve as a sneak preview for both fans and the wrestlers themselves. Vital career decisions may not be made by some of the athletes regarding their weight classes next week, but it will at least start the thinking process, that you can rest assured of.
NYRTC athletes Austin Schafer (97 kg) and Gabe Dean (97 kg) have already had their Greco-Roman debuts, the latter’s taking place two years ago before he reappeared at the U23 Trials earlier this month. Dean certainly didn’t get what he expected out there in Minnesota — he was tech’ed out by NMU’s Spencer Wilson in the 98 kilogram semis and then he bowed out of the tournament altogether. IF Dean is registering for the Schultz (and there is no confirmation on that one way or the other right yet), he’s a walking storyline. But how about Schafer? The jackhammering Oklahoma State alum barely had any training prior to the Senior Trials and looked very tough. And while he only managed a fifth-place showing at the University Nationals in June, that came with a surprising defeat of 2016 US Open runner-up Khymba Johnson (NYAC/OTS). Let’s see what Schafer can do with some full-time training under his belt.
- Future star power.
After coming close to earning spots on the National Team last April, Anthonie “Twinkie” Linares (NYAC/OTS) and Colin Schubert (NYAC/OTS) are expected to be back on the mat in the Springs. Linares finished third at the Schultz in February at 71 kilos while Schubert was up at 75 and did not place. Both took fourth at the Senior Trials — Linares at 66, Schubert at 71. And both took second at the University Nationals, as well. There’s synergy here, is the point, and they are definitely two monster prospects to keep an eye out for.
There are more but that’s why we do previews, and those will begin entering the digital consciousness as the event approaches.
2012 University World Champion Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP) will be featured this week. It’s not exactly a secret that Nowry has been tabbed as the “go-to guy” for the reintroduction of 55 kilograms. Ever since the weight classes were changed a few years ago, the Illinois product has been giving up size at 59 kilos and because of that, he started to grow frustrated with his performances. Despite the size difference, however, Nowry still managed to remain a top contender and he put an exclamation point on that fact when he defeated friend and teammate Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) for third at the World Team Trials, which also secured him another Senior National Team spot.
But still, 55 is almost like coming home again for Nowry, and his general perspective regarding the weight class along with the chance for him to give it a test run at the Schultz next week are important to consider. And because Nowry is as forthcoming as it gets, what he has to say will — of course — not go unnoticed, and might even help other lighter-weight wrestlers who have endured the same plights as he. Thought that isn’t a long list.
Also coming your way:
- An interview with U23 European Championships winner and Swedish star Alex Kessidis (80 kg, world no. 6). Kessidis has trained with and knows a lot of the US guys, and on top of that, he has also turned himself into one of the best on the planet. Topics that will be discussed include his training, the upcoming U23 Worlds in Poland, his best moments from last year, his take on the new weights, and some other fun stuff.
- The Dave Schultz Memorial previews will be formatted similarly to what we did for the U23 Trials (i.e., splitting them into two parts). This seemed to be a big hit and also, easier to read for bookkeepers ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
- Profiles on two athletes who have had to deal with some interesting (but separate) obstacles standing in their path.
- YES — we will be working to include recaps/results for the US boys in Sweden this weekend.