QUINCY – As radically different as beach wrestling and folk-style wrestling are, Michael Peters thinks he’s a more complete wrestler doing both.
“They’re really playing each other,” said Peters. “Beach wrestling is mostly on your feet so lately I’ve been training on my feet. I’ve been doing a bit of mat wrestling, but it’s mostly on my feet. I can pass very easily. from the beach to the carpet. “
If the Quincy High School graduate does as well on the mat as he has been on the beach, Peters realizes his sophomore season at NCAA Division II Maryville University could be pretty special.
“I had a few setbacks last year from injuries, but I’m starting this season feeling good,” said Peters, 154 pounds.
When you win a national title it should give you good vibes.
Peters competed over the summer at the 2017 Beach Wrestling Championships, part of USA Wrestling’s Associated Styles program. Held in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, the championships feature four weight classes in the senior division and two weight classes in the veteran division.
Wrestling in the 70-kilogram, 154.3-pound class, Peters won four games to win the national championship, defeating Kevin Birmingham of Greensboro, NC in the title game.
“It’s a newer style,” said Peters. “It’s not as popular as folkstyle or freestyle, but it’s one of the fastest growing styles of wrestling around the world.”
Matches are generally quick and only last three points. Wrestlers earn one point for a takedown, one point for pushing their opponent out of the ring and two points for a foot-to-back takedown.
“There are no pins,” said Peters. “It’s mostly the fight on your feet.”
It takes patience and speed to be successful.
“It’s a much slower pace,” said Peters. “So I definitely take a patient approach. You wait for things to open up. You have to be smart.”
A mistake can end a game in a hurry.
“I had a game that lasted 20 seconds,” said Peters.
Her ability to adapt to a different style quite quickly gave her a great opportunity. Peters’ National Championship earned him a spot on the USA Wrestling Beach Team, which will compete at the Beach Wrestling World Championships October 13-15 in Dalyan, Turkey.
“We’re working right now,” Peters said. “There are some things with the NCAA and the coming college season that we need to understand. We’re going to figure that out, but I’m really looking forward to going out there and competing.”
It’s part of the natural progression of Peters’ career.
He also wrestled in a few folk-style tournaments over the summer, winning the college / open division at the Midwest Nationals in Bloomington, Ill.. The rest of his time was spent preparing for the upcoming season.
“I mainly focused on getting stronger,” said Peters. “I spent a lot of time in the weight room during the summer and getting ready for the season.”
This season is now turning into a year round event with different styles for different times of the year.
“I plan to wrestle on the beach for many years to come,” said Peters. “I can wrestle on the beach in the winter and go back to the folk style in the winter. “