Concord’s Peyton Omania wins a spot for Team USA at Greco Roman Wrestling World Championships –


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Once a Spartan Always a Spartan: De La Salle wrestling legend Peyton Omania of Concord won the US team trials to represent America in Oslo, Norway at the Greco World Championships -romans last weekend. Omania became the first-ever DLS State wrestling champion in 2018, then entered Michigan State, which goes by the nickname Spartan for all of its Big Ten teams. (Photo by Sam Janicki courtesy of Michigan State University Athletics)

CONCORD, CA (October 15, 2021) – De La Salle wrestling legend Peyton Omania of Concord added to his expanding resume when he rocked the standings to win the United States Tag Team Trials for representing America in Oslo, Norway, at this month’s Greco Roman. World Championships at 67 kilograms.

His experience at the World Championships came to an abrupt end last weekend when 2021 world junior champion Hasrat Jafarov of Azerbaijan, who won the bronze medal, defeated Omania, a freshman in a red shirt at Michigan State, by a technical drop in the 67 kg (148 pounds) qualifying round in Oslo.

Jafarov won his next match, but was later beaten by a technical fall in the quarterfinals by the No.1 seed, 2020 Olympic gold medalist and future 2021 world champion Mohammadreza Geraei of Iran. This result eliminated Omania from the tournament.

In order to represent the United States at the World Championships, all 2018 CIF State Wrestling Champion De La Salle had to do was defeat Senior National Champion Hayden Tuma, then the No.2 seed and 2016 Olympian Jess Thielke in the semi-finals and finally 2020 Olympian and number 1 seed Alejandro Sancho in a best-of-three final series for the world team place Omania swept away in two matches.

Interview of Peyton at the World Team Trials

Omania vs Sancho World Team Trials Finals

Omania attributed his mental preparation for these victories against the last two US Olympians to the person he considers his greatest influence, former De La Salle wrestler Luke Sheridan. Former Indiana wrestling Sheridan told Omania just before the game with Thielke, “Act like it’s a shadow. You just have to fight against the shadows. That’s what he did !

These victories and her place in the world championship came in a year that has greatly tested the spirit of Omania. In February, her wrestling trainer since the age of five, Mark Halvorson, passed away suddenly.

Halvorson has guided Omania through his wrestling career starting at the Community Youth Center in Concord and then to De La Salle, where the couple won the school’s very first CIF State Championship in 2018 when the The four-time league and three-time NCS champion were ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds and backed up that ranking by reaching the top of the podium after winning his last two games in stunning style.

Halvorson’s death hit Omania hard and his results this year suffered as he suffered two losses at the Big Ten Championships, the NCAA Championships and the US Olympic Trials, where his top-eight finish. was obviously not good enough to win the place in Tokyo. .

It was the fifth time the Concord athlete represented the United States in international competition. He won bronze at the 2019 World Junior Championships and in the same year he also won the 67kg place in the Greco-Roman U23 World Team. Omania was a member of the World Junior Team in 2018, as well as the World Cadet Team 2016.

On the world stage

“All I wanted to do was wrestle on the world stage,” he said after making his first senior Greco-Roman American team. That dream came true after some personal reflection after the Olympic Trials, when Omania started looking back at everything, wins and losses, which brought this five-year-old from Concord to a moment of indecision. .

“I was just sick of doubting myself,” Omania said. “I felt like I was fighting not to lose rather than to win. I used to convince myself in high school that I could walk through a brick wall, ”Omania said. “I could do anything. I was unstoppable.

The rise in [collegiate and national] the competition changed something along the way. Omania burned down with opponents with better stats or bigger names, and they started to gain the upper hand.

In order to change the outcome, he needed to change all the habits along the way. He wanted to show off every workout buzzing with positivity. He must have seen the losses as one more lesson on how to become a champion.

“You can identify it pretty quickly, even as the average spectator, when someone comes out on the mat and they’re really enjoying their time and their moment,” Michigan State coach Roger Chandler said. . “It’s Peyton. The lights come on and Peyton appears.

Her successful performance in the team trials earned Omania the selection of America’s Wrestling Athlete of the Week on September 17.

Michigan State University Athletics contributed to this story.

Jay Bedecarré

Jay Bedecarré

Jay Bedecarré is a longtime resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his career as a newspaper writer when he was still in his final year at Mt. Diablo High School and has been a part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also organizes festivals in the Greater Montreal area. bay, featuring events in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Bay Area KidFest each year. in downtown Concord.

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Robert J. King