It is hard to miss Northern Michigan University Greco athletes these days. Everywhere you look, you’re bound to catch at least a few of them in tournament brackets or on overseas rosters. That’s how the premier collegiate Greco-Roman program closed the books on 2019, and they are continuing down the same path as the most important part of the season begins to approach.
Not only did NMU have a group of wrestlers compete at Thor Masters in Denmark recently, another handful are traveling to Cuba next month for the Granma Cup. And then towards the end of February, one more batch of NMU athletes will be flying to Europe in anticipation of the annual Austrian Junior Open and its accompanying training camp.
NMU head coach Andy Bisek addresses all of the above in this latest Marquette Matters along with providing a quick glimpse into how he structures video breakdowns.
5PM: You had several who competed in Denmark, with two of your Trials-qualified athletes, Carter Nielsen and Spencer Woods, kind of leading the way. Nielsen in particular had a very strong tournament. When it comes to these two, who are rapidly-developing Seniors, do you put much stock into how they perform at a tournament like that?
Coach Andy Bisek: I just want to see them comfortable competing and not putting unnecessary pressure on themselves. As long as they’re competing stronger and stronger and stronger, and developing the ability to compete well. A big part of it outside of technique, strength, or speed is the savviness to compete well.
5PM: I ask pretty much every coach this question. Are you big on breaking down video on a micro level to identify fixes, adjustments, and things like that?
AB: It depends on the athlete and individual. If they want to go and watch some film, we can go over stuff as deep as they want, or I’ll just myself see if I can pick out a few things that as a team we’re lacking.
5PM: The Cuba roster is out and there are a handful of NMU athletes who will compete in the Granma Cup, which is an up-and-down kind of tournament in terms of participation numbers even though there will definitely be good Cubans, obviously. Was this a trip you recommended they sign up for?
AB: I still think it’s a great tournament whether it’s an up or down year. The level of wrestling from the Cubans is very high. It’s good to get that kind of experience at this point of the year since there’s nothing else left before the (Olympic) Trials and the Last Chance Qualifier. This is the last opportunity for guys to compete before then.
5PM: How many athletes do you have traveling to Austria, and not to ask another rhetorical question, but what is the biggest value in going to Austria for your Juniors? Does the camp trump the tournament?
Coach Andy Bisek: I think last year that the camp ended up pretty good, but the year before the camp wasn’t that good. It seems to be improving. I believe we have five guys going, five Juniors, and I think it will be really good getting that in a month and a half before we go to Vegas.