Kamal Bey hadn’t been a typical high school wrestler. Known more for his prowess in Greco competition than folkstyle, the graduating high school senior showcases high flying skills and highlight reel worthy athleticism. Accordingly, his talents have even earned him the nickname “Human Highlight Reel.” Now, the star high school athlete is hoping to take his success to the next level. Instead of going the usual college route, Bey is staying put in the area and heading directly to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs post-graduation.
Many successful high school athletes indeed find success at the college level, as well. For Bey, he plans to bypass the four years of folkstyle in favor of Greco at the OTC. This decision will have a huge effect on his future. “It’ll make me a better wrestler because of the guys in and out there. The foreign guys coming in. You know, not everyone wrestles the same, especially coming from overseas. I’m excited to be exposed to all that,” Bey said.
The commitment comes seemingly easy as he has already had much success at the National Cadet and Junior levels. Bey took home gold at the 2015 USAW Junior Men’s GR Nationals. He also took 2nd at the same tournament in 2014. It also appears as if Bey shows no signs of easing up during the upcoming summer. “I’m gonna hit as many tournaments as I can,” Bey said. “Possibly make another Fargo appearance and just do as much as I can to get ready for Junior Worlds in August.”
Bey attributes some of his success to his coach and mentor TC Dantzler. Dantzler was an Olympian and long-time National Team member, and took Bey under his wing early on. Kamal and TC have known each other since Kamal was a kid. “He was a Harvey Twister like me,” says Bey. This year he decided to move in with Dantzler to make friends and be under his guidance. Bey even discussed how Dantzler helped him do well in school. According to Kamal, TC has been a major impact in his career.
“Before I came to the OC I could tell he was a guy gonna be there for me and take care of me. He’s been a dad and a mentor, learning from him and living in his house made me and developed me and guided me into the person I’m going to be.”
Bey’s decision to head to the OTC lends support to the current argument that the United States athletes need to train Greco sooner in their careers in order to keep up with the world-dominating Russians and other wrestling power countries. Some people inside the wrestling community believe college folkstyle doesn’t grow the international talent at a decent-enough pace.
In the end, it seems as if Bey’s success at the Senior National level is inevitable. He’s got a great coach, a home at the OTC, and an unbelievable amount of talent and athleticism to match. And the way things are shaking out now, you just never know – the 2020 Tokyo Games might have Kamal Bey’s name written all over them.