MOODY, Alabama – Cory Land, a high school student from Moody, won the title of Greek world medalist wrestler for his weight class in the Greco-Roman Cadet World Final. The world competition took place in Budapest, Hungary.
He was greeted at his home on the night of July 26 by a group of his high school mates, the Moody Police Department and the Moody Civic Center.
Land entered Team USA after winning the World Team Trials. At this point in his wrestling career, Land is a four-time state champion and has competed nationally and globally.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from or how much you have or don’t have, as long as you can be consistent, put the world in it and have fun with it, it will be worth it,” Land said.
In the United States, it is common for the wrestling style to be “folk,” but Land is trained in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, which are Olympic wrestling styles.
Wrestling is what his trainer, Jake Elkins, considers to be the last real “American Dream.” According to Elkins, wrestling has a lot less to do with natural ability and body type than other American sports. He said you can be a world champion no matter how tall you are.
Land began wrestling with Elkins’ team, the Iron Clad Wrestling Club, in November 2015 at the Moody Civic Center. Land has been training since fifth grade and has devoted over 10,000 hours to wrestling.
“It’s been a long road with a lot of hard workouts and tough weight cuts, but also a lot of fun times because that’s what I love to do,” Land said.
He also wrestles for the Moody High School wrestling team and continues to train with Elkins during the offseason. To maintain his weight class, Land strictly follows a diet to control his muscle-to-fat ratio. Elkins said he had shown “intense discipline”.
“There’s a lot of pressure trying to be a world class athlete at 17. It is a Bengal tiger running with puppies. In local tournaments he wants to show off and gain weight to fight like everyone else, ”Elkins said.
When Land was just a freshman in high school, he won a national competition in Virginia. The following year he was part of the World Greco-Roman Wrestling Team, when wrestlers began to compete at the world level. Subsequently, he participated in the cadet world championship in Bulgaria.
“Right now there are thousands of kids across the country who can watch this kid from Alabama wrestle, who has every excuse not to be good, but he did it anyway. It’s the American dream that anyone can achieve, ”Elkins said.
According to Eklins, Land could be on the right track to becoming an Olympian.
“He’s recruited by virtually everyone in the country and by all the major programs. In college he will have the opportunity to compete at the World and Olympic levels if he wishes, ”Elkins said.