We have hit the weekend, which means that the highly-populated Senior Greco camp at MWC in Nebraska is now in full-swing.
Perspectives and details from those involved have been made readily available (and in more than one medium). Yesterday, New York Athletic Club coach/US National Team staff member Herb House provided a snapshot of what the camp entails and the general atmosphere; also on Friday, we released Episode 38 of the Five Point Move Podcast (included at the bottom of this page) featuring Zac Dominguez, who is presiding over the sessions; and stretching back even further we had the roster along with pre-camp insights from a pair of top young athletes.
And it is back to the athletes we go for this update covering the first two days of action in Nebraska.
Three-time U23 World Team member Jesse Porter (77 kg, NYAC/NTS) was one of the two Seniors whose feelings and expectations were presented last week. Porter, 22, had shared how he was maximizing the resources in and around his home in order to remain sharp and in-shape. So far, he seems pleased with not only the camp itself, but also with how his muscle memory has remained more-than intact. Stablemate Austin Morrow (67 kg) — who puts in exceedingly long hours between early-morning lifts, a full day’s work, and then cardio — sounded incredibly grateful to be on-hand at MWC, and delivered a rich picture of what the camp’s structure has had to offer.
Opening up the dialogue this time around is “The Quiet Man” Corbin Nirschl (60 kg). Once a stout age-grouper, Nirschl took this talents to Williams Baptist University last season in hopes of forging a career on the Senior level. Just as he got moving in the right direction, WBU canceled the Greco program, leaving Nirschl in search of a new home. Officially, he is still unattached and examining his options, though Dominguez recently opened his doors to Nirschl in an effort to keep him engaged and part of the US program’s future.
Corbin Nirschl — 60 kg, UA
5PM: You have a lot of partners here. What has been the biggest benefit for you, especially considering that before recently you hardly had any partners?
Nirschl: Well, it’s definitely a game-changer. We switch drills. I would go with one person, then you have to pick another partner, then live you have to pick another partner. I don’t have to worry about going with the same person, or the same person every other go. I have a new person in there every time who is either as good, better, or way better. It’s like, I get all of it in one practice.
5PM: The word is that this camp is pretty par terre-heavy. What it has been like for you to get those looks from some other outstanding lightweights in the country?
Nirschl: It’s awfully good because if there is one thing that I lack — pretty bad, actually — is my par terre defense. That’s what I have mostly been focusing on. It is a heavy base at this camp, so I have really been focusing on trying to learn more stuff from bottom. Defending guts and stuff like that.
5PM: You’re a little unique in that you had been able to practice a bit leading up to this. But with the amount of competition available and how well-attended this camp is, did you come into this week with individual goals that you were hoping to develop more by the time this camp is out?
Nirschl: When I heard that it was going to be heavily-based on par terre, and since that is something that I’ve lacked, by the end of the camp I want to learn ways to defend from bottom, score from bottom, score from top. Basically, to learn and get everyone’s insights on what I’m doing wrong. And then either after practice or during the drills, fix them and get better at what I’m doing.
Austin Morrow — 67 kg, NYAC/NTS
5PM: How did you latch onto this camp and did you go through the protocols that were practically required?
Morrow: I had just finished roofing a bunch of houses at my boss’ camp because Sammy (Jones) was with Ivan at Suples. Andy (Bisek) has us on a lifting program and I’ve been doing that, but I had been really missing wrestling so I called Herb (House). Hey man, I hear there is a Nebraska camp in a couple of days and I would love to go. Can you guys swing that? He called me back the next day and said, “Dave (Foxen) bought your ticket. You’re going.”
Yes, I did the COVID test. It’s that weird fricking thing up your nose. The lady says, It’s not going to hurt. It’s going to feel like beach water in your nose. Well, I don’t know if she ever had beach water in her nose because it did fricking hurt. It doesn’t feel like water in your nose, it feels like something touching the back of your throat from your nose.
But yes, I did get tested and I’m totally clear. I really wanted to wrestle. I had been missing it. I love competition, I love being competitive, and I love wrestling. So I was like, I’m going no matter what. That was what drew me to it. Plus, I’ve always been a big fan of Zac Dominguez. The way he runs practice is incredible. He has such a good system of, Here’s what we’re doing, the timer is on the wall. We’re doing it short and sweet. We’re doing what we need to do and getting in, and getting out. It’s awesome. I love it.
5PM: Reportedly, this camp includes a big focus on par terre work. Lifts are obviously a big part of your game, how has it been getting used to that feel again after some months off the mat?
Morrow: You know, it’s great, man. I honestly feel like I haven’t missed a step with the lifts. Maybe the speed and the timing, but it comes back so quick. All Aghasi (Manukyan) ever preached to me was that you find your one move and you do it over and over and over. And he would keep me after practice for sometimes an hour and a half just working the side lift. Sammy and I would work together because we both love that side lift. I feel very confident that I can lift anyone. So it felt great to get out there and do it — to throw, to score, to lift. I just love that one move. I just love it.
It has been great. This camp has been very par terre-dominant. Today (Friday) was mostly defense and yesterday was mostly offense. We would do stuff like, Okay, you want to work on your lift? Then you’re going to lift and gut right away; next, you’re going to tech the guy; now you’re going to go out and try to hit as many lifts as you can in a three-minute period. It has been really, really cool because that’s what I love. On my feet I know I need work to get the takedown to get to par terre — but once I’m in par terre, I feel very, very comfortable and at home. It has been phenomenal.
5PM: How has your body responded so far and do you see yourself coming out of this feeling as though you’re starting to round back into shape?
Morrow: Yeah, the job Sammy and I do, we’re handymen. We do labor everyday, and I’ve been following Andy’s lifting program, so it’s not like I’m lazy and out of shape. But I definitely feel like I’m not in “wrestling shape”. I think this camp has helped a ton making me feel as though I can get back into that kind of shape really quick.
I have really been enjoying the process of the short and sweet practices. We do a couple of live go’s, we’re getting it, and then we’re working technique. We’re pushing ourselves to that limit where, yeah, you’re a little tired but you can still push and challenge yourself. I think it has been wonderful. I am very, very blessed to be here. I am super-happy to be back on the mat. They say you never know what you have until you lost it and I am so grateful that wrestling has been able to start back up a little bit again. It has been very nice.
Jesse Porter — 77 kg, NYAC/NTS
5PM: You’re only two days in, but as far as just the participation in the room, has this camp met your expectations thus far?
Porter: Yes, I think I’d say so. Just being able to be here, I did my homework and I am going to continue doing what I’m doing. And also, just to see if the technique I had been doing at home is paying off. I’d say that so far, it is. I feel a lot sharper on top. All of my moves are turning really well. The work I have been doing in the basement by myself has been paying off. It’s working, and that is really good confirmation for me. Another good thing about this camp is that I am able to exercise those finer points I wasn’t able to get while I was drilling alone.
5PM: Par terre is a focus here. How has that been for you? You have mentioned that you had been training on your own, what has it been like getting those looks with actual partners?
Porter: That is one of my favorite parts of the camp, that we’re doing a lot of par terre here. I think that really helps me, especially on bottom. Because, that look on bottom is really hard to get on your own. I have evolved a little bit at home because I have been trying to get better at moves on the bottom, but getting that live look — especially from the bottom — is really important because it is very difficult on your own. That has been very good, coupled with the coaches actually giving us new techniques that I didn’t know before and working one-on-one. We have different perspectives going on here. There are different coaches, and that is always really good.
5PM: You’ve been doing your own thing before this. How does your body feel two days into a camp that offers a lot more volume?
Porter: Yeah, they have really thrown us into the fire right away. I was hoping that we would wrestle with maybe an emphasis on conditioning later but they threw us right in there. And, I was actually really surprised. I held up pretty well. It wasn’t a full thrash. It wasn’t like full, full out. I wrestle fantastic, obviously. But I survived and held my own with the conditioning, which I think is a testament to my continuing to train. If you sit around and do nothing, that’s when you are going to feel it. You could get hurt and not be able to keep up. But if you are training in some type of way, that helps your cardio system and keeps it pretty peaked.