Greco-Roman grapplers tangle in Iowa – The North Wind

Of the 72 Greco-Roman athletes who qualified to compete at the 2012 Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, last weekend, 14 of them were USOEC athletes.

Of the USOEC athletes who qualified for the 2012 Olympic team, four worked through their brackets to place in the top four in their respective weight classes and are now members of the national team. the United States.

Sophomore Max Nowry had the most successful tournament being the only USOEC athlete to compete in a final match for the Olympic team spot at 55kg. After struggling through his 11-man squad with past and current teammates, Nowry made it to the final challenge match.

Nowry’s first match was against Dmitry Ryabchinskiy, his USOEC teammate. He said he was glad the match ended in his favor this time.

“We fight all the time in the room, and the winner between us comes and goes all the time,” Nowry said. “It could have gone either way.”

Nowry’s opponent was former USOEC teammate, 2008 Olympian and World Team member Spencer Mango (US Army) who hadn’t given up a point the entire tournament.

The two met at the center mat at Carver Hawkeye Arena for a best-of-three match for the Olympic berth.

In the opener, Nowry and Mango were tied 0-0 at the end of the first period. Mango caught Nowry on the back in the final 10 seconds for a pin and the end of the opener.

Nowry headed into Game 2 needing to win back-to-back periods to claim the Olympic berth. Nowry said after speaking to head coach Rob Hermann he had a new game plan for Game 2.

“Coach told me that when I’m in the room goofing off and having fun, I seem to wrestle better,” Nowry said. “I decided to go into this second game and have fun with it.”

The first period went to Mango by a single point and the second period by three points, clinching his second straight spot on the Olympic team.

Even with the loss, Nowry still feels optimistic for the upcoming national team competitions.

“I have college trials for the world team coming up,” Nowry said. “Even though I haven’t been on an Olympic team, I can still be on the varsity team. I am really looking forward to this competition. »

Also competing in the 55kg weight class, senior Paul Tellgren finished his tournament with a 4-1 record and a bronze medal. His second and third wins were against former teammate Mike Fuenfinger and current teammate Isaiah Verona, respectively.

Tellgren’s first game was a two-period loss to New York Athletic Club’s Nikko Triggas. The two met again at the end of the bracket fighting for third place. This time Tellgren swept the game, beating Triggas 1-0 in the first half and 2-1 in the second.

Sophomore Kendrick Sanders made the long cut to make 66kg from his usual 74kg. He said it was a difficult process full of challenges to overcome.

“The weight reduction was tough because I had to do a lot of things that I wasn’t used to, like cutting out certain foods and going out,” Sanders said. “I had to arrive early and train two or three times a day; towards the end, the weight came off more and more slowly.

Sanders made weight at the weigh-ins and said it was worth it in the end.

“The weight reduction paid off for me in the long run,” Sanders said. “I didn’t finish the way I wanted, but I came back and made the national team. I’m happy with it for now. »

He took third place at the end of the day with a 3-1 tournament record. Sanders’ only loss was against the athlete who ended up winning the Olympic spot: Harry Lester of the United States Army.

Sanders’ bronze medal match was against Glen Garrison (US Army); he won the first two periods in a 1-0, 1-0 sweep.

Sophomore Toby Erickson competed for the USOEC at 120kg and, like teammate Tellgren, he also had a 4-1 record and third place bronze.

Also similar to his teammate, Erickson’s first and last game was the same person: Nick Severson (Minnesota Storm).
The only difference in Erickson’s game was that he won both games against Severson.

Erickson’s first game with Severson lasted all three periods. The first period Erickson won 1-0; the second Severson took a 3-0 lead. Erickson set up what could have been a three-point shot to win the period, but the referee only awarded him two points. In the third and final period, Erickson knocked out Severson with a 2-0 win.

Meeting Severson again in the bronze medal game, Erickson didn’t even give his opponent a chance to score a point or go beyond the first period.

“Severson is a tough guy to start a tournament with,” Erickson said. “I knew I was going to beat him the second time around instead of just squealing.”

After pushing and shooting to offset his opponent for most of the first period, Erickson was able to catch his opponent off guard.

He put Severson in a pinned position and secured the drop with a mere second before the buzzer sounded at the end of the period.

Even though Erickson didn’t make the Olympic team, he’s still happy with his performance over the past year.

“I’m a member of the national team after my first year on the senior circuit,” Erickson said. “To go this far is a great feeling; I can only go up from here.

Other athletes who competed for the USOEC at the 2012 Olympic Trials were freshmen Lee Wildes and Verona, sophomores Joseph DeNova, Marcus Finau, Ryabchinskiy, juniors Tanner Andrews, Aaron Briggs, Josh Castellano, Marc Stenberg and senior Zac Nielsen.

Of the seven Greco-Roman weight classes, six Olympian spots are held by USOEC alumni: Spencer Mango at 55kg, Ellis Coleman at 60kg, Justin “Harry” Lester at 66kg, Chas Betts at 84kg, Ben Provisor at 74kg and RC Johnson at 96kg.

While the women’s freestyle team will relocate to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USOEC Greco will remain at NMU under Head Coach Hermann and produce elite student athletes .

Robert J. King