Note: this episode was recorded prior to the passing of World Champion & former NMU assistant coach Aghasi Manukyan.
Episode 14 of The Five Point Move Podcast temporarily veers back to the previous format featuring just a single guest, but it’s a good one: two-time Junior World Team member Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS, world no. 20). To inject even more juice back into the program, World Champ Dennis Hall reassumes his role as both the co-host and resident rabble-rouser, particularly when it came time to discuss several of the procedural wrinkles currently found in Senior-level Greco.
Roberts, 21, is one of the US Greco-Roman program’s most visible young stars. His hyper-competitiveness first became evident in 2015 when he surprised many around the sport by making the Junior World Team. A year later, he made the team again and later added a University National title to his resume. From that point on it has been steady rise atop the ladder for the Michigan native as he has since tacked on several international medals along with nailing down a spot on the inaugural US U23 World Team this past fall. One of Roberts’ most impressive performances is his most recent. In February, he bounced back from a tough first-round loss to eventually earn bronze at the Granma Cup in Cuba, one of UWW’s new “Ranking Series” tournaments.
A few highlights
Hall on the goal for US athletes when they compete and train overseas
“They’re going over there to compete and win. I’m not saying the guys from overseas aren’t, they’re going to those tournaments to win. But they go to so many tournaments that they’re practicing. They are working on things. Not that our guys aren’t, but it’s a lot different, I think, for overseas guys compared to our guys. The foreigners I think use it more for practice just to see where they’re at. I’m not saying our guys aren’t doing that — they are. But are we truly fixing what we’re working on, or is our focus on winning at those tournaments? It’s good we’re having success but we have to carry that success over.”
Roberts on his first match in Cuba
“A lot of it has to do with your warm up. I felt mentally prepared but my body wasn’t there. My heart rate wasn’t up. I wasn’t ready for the match. You have to be ready both physically and mentally, and I wasn’t. I fixed that for the second match.”
Roberts on his win in the bronze medal bout
“It felt like it was a big stepping stone, honestly. With my pace I can change the match and push a lot of guys, but when they start to push back I usually up the pace, match it, or try to beat that. With that match I wanted to see what he would do. I was being more patient and I wanted to react off of what he was doing instead of push and keep pushing like I know how to do. That is something I’ve been trying to work on and Rob (Hermann) has been working on it with me, which is less push, because I push a lot, and just feeling the opponent and countering what he’s doing.”