Make no mistake about it, Jonathan Drendel being given the keys to the Williams Baptist Greco Roman team is hugely significant. For starters, Drendel becomes the first Greco coach ever for the Eagles, firmly etching his name in the history books. That is always a big deal but in this case, it’s even bigger. We’ll get to that in a moment. Northern alum and highly-respected young coach Kerry Regner became the first coach for the school’s NAIA program a few years ago, which in essence, kicked off the series of events which led to where we are now.
Drendel, once a promising National-level Greco Roman competitor and like Regner, attended NMU, joined the Williams staff originally as a student assistant, though he could have never guessed where that decision would take him. Regner, on his own volition, lobbied the college to include a Greco Roman program and before long his efforts paid off. That is when the coaching search began. Numerous candidates popped up, Drendel being one of them. The search could basically be drawn as a circle because inevitably, all signs pointed back to Drendel being the right man in the right place at the right time.
Taking over a new program comes with a vast number of responsibilities but since we’re talking about Greco Roman (at a college, no less), you can go ahead and amplify all of them. Drendel’s most important task currently is to get the word out and recruit. He knows this. So does his oversight. Seemingly every year there are high school kids who want to continue training in Greco but are either unaware of the other options available to them or conversely, are aware and just simply turned off by the prospect of moving across the country to Michigan. In this space, the Williams Baptist Greco Roman team has the potential to fit in quite nicely. Moreover, there are some current Senior athletes who still have college eligibility and have expressed the desire to keep competing in Greco Roman. WBC can fill that void, too.
On top of everything, Drendel brings with him an astoundingly sharp mind for technique and developmental coaching (“He’s incredibly technical,” Regner says). Throw in the competitive career that ultimately fell short due to shoulder problems, the subsequent apprenticeship under Regner, and fever-pitch enthusiasm for Greco in general, and it would appear that Drendel could be on the verge of something special here. But there is a whole lot of work to be done first. It’s okay, he’s up for it.
The Marines are marching into Paris; so is Patrick Smith
A full squad of Marines are competing this weekend at the Paris International Tournament in Paris, France. This is a terrific opportunity for these wrestlers to keep adding onto their overseas resumes while getting some legit competition in. Daniel Miller (98 kg), who holds a substantial amount of international experience, will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing US Nationals appearance and get off on the right foot for 2017. Xavier Johnson (59 kg) was struggling to get noticed previously until he put on a few jaw-dropping performances in Vegas. Of course, there is also Raymond Bunker (66 kg), one of the toughest wrestlers at any weight in the US. Bunker no doubt is going to be one to watch next weekend because simply put, no matter where he is on the mat, the dude is always fighting it out. One of the more entertaining guys to watch when he’s on.
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) will also be competing at the Paris International. Smith has been in Sweden since last week and will be staying there for the next couple of months both for training/competing and some college coursework. Following the Paris Tournament, there will be a week-long training camp that all of the US Greco Roman athletes are expected to participate in.
Paris International Tournament US Roster — January 28-29, Paris France
59 kg – Xavier Johnson (Marines)
59 kg – Colton Rasche (Marines)
66 kg – Raymond Bunker (Marines)
71 kg – Joshua Russo (Marines)
71 kg – Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
75 kg – JayShon Wilson (Marines)
80 kg – Michael Brant (Marines)
98 kg – Daniel Miller (Marines)
130 kg – Eric Fader (Marines)
2017 Ivan Poddubny
This year’s Poddubny had its share of interesting match-ups and a few highlight-reel moments. 59 kilograms, the deepest weight of the event (isn’t it always though?) gave the world the most confident version of Mingiyan Semenov (RUS, world no. 11) it has seen since last spring. He didn’t go haywire, but he was consistent, wrestling as if he knew a secret no one else in the bracket did. Point of interest for the hardcore lot might be his semifinal with 2016 European U23 champ and countryman Sergey Emelin. Semenov won the bout 6-0, and while that isn’t a flashy score, you’ll like what you see (provided the video becomes available, of course).
At 85 kilos, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Davit Chakvetadze (RUS, world no. 1) turned back Robert Kobliashvili (GEO, world no. 11) to take his first Podubbny title. In less exciting news, 2016 Rio bronze medalist Sergey Semenov (RUS, world no. 3) pushed, pawed, and plodded his way to victory over fellow Russian Boris Vansteyn 2-1.
Full 2017 Ivan Poddubny Results
Gold: Mingiyan Semenov (RUS) def. Zhanbolat Lokaev (RUS) 6-1
Bronze: Sergey Emelin (RUS) def. Abdulmazhit Bakizhonov (RUS) 3-1
Bronze: Stepan Maryanyan (RUS) def. Sanal Semenov (RUS) 4-1
Gold: Aleksey Kiyankin (RUS) def. Zaur Kabaloev (RUS) 2-2
Bronze: Pavel Saleev (RUS) def. Aslan Visaitov (RUS) 4-1
Bronze: Marat Garipov (RUS) def. Gleb Batyanin (RUS) 8-0, TF
Gold: Abuyazid Mantsigov (RUS) def. Yuri Denisov (RUS) 1-1
Bronze: Evgeni Vysotin (RUS) def. Sachino Davitaia (GEO) 5-1
Bronze: Narek Oganian (RUS) def. Narek Grigorian (RUS) 3-2
Gold: Chingiz Labazanov (RUS) def. Aleksander Chekhirkin (RUS) 11-4
Bronze: Antonio Kamenjasevic (CRO) def. Rafael Yunusov (RUS) 3-1
Bronze: Dmitri Petaykin (RUS) def. Dmitri Dzhioev (RUS) 5-2
Gold: Zurabi Datunashvili (GEO) def. Adlan Akiev (RUS) 3-3
Bronze: Gadzhimurad Dzhalalov (RUS) def. Alan Egorevich (RUS) 2-1
Bronze: Imil Sharafedinov (RUS) def. Bislan Assakalov (RUS) 6-3
Gold: David Chakvetadze (RUS) def. Robert Kobliashvili (GEO) 3-1
Bronze: Evgeni Saleev (RUS) def. Artur Sokurov (RUS) 4-1
Bronze: Ruslan Yusupov (RUS) def. Azamat Bikbaev (RUS) 7-1
Gold: Nikita Melnikov (RUS) def. Musa Evloev (RUS) 4-2
Bronze: Konstantin Efimov (RUS) def. Gamzat Yusupov (RUS) 2-1
Bronze: Maksim Safaryan (RUS) def. Sergey Goryaev (RUS) 2-0
Gold: Sergey Semenov (RUS) def. Boris Vansteyn (RUS) 2-1
Bronze: Deli Liu (CHN) def. Vitali Shchur (RUS) 1-0
Bronze: Aleksey Grishin (RUS) def. Zurabi Gedekhauri (RUS) via fall (4-0)
The US Winter Greco Roman Camp is reaching its second and final week over at the Olympic Training Center. If you have been keeping up with the “Coach Lindland Reports” as of late, you know that team-building and reinforcing a unified culture stand as the primary objectives of the training camp. Part of the team-building phase, surprisingly enough, has been hockey. Over the weekend, the athletes got on the ice and apparently, really enjoyed themselves. See for yourself:
Steldt and Dominguez join Greco Roman Cadet World Team staff
Two of the sport’s good guys, Lucas Steldt and Zac Dominquez, have been announced as coaches for the 2017 Cadet World Team. Both men are passionate about development and promoting Greco Roman in the United States. And by extension, both coaches have extensive experience working with age-group athletes at different levels. Two excellent choices. The 2017 Cadet World Championships are set for early-September in Athens, Greece.
What’s coming up here
- A new “Coach Lindland’s Report” recapping Winter Camp and looking ahead at the training plan is coming this week.
- As is the long-awaited piece about US Olympic Training Center coach and 2006 World Champion Mohamed Abdelfatah.
- We announced this last week, but complete Winter Tour rosters will be dropping.
- An interview with Austin Morrow (NYAC-OTS). Morrow is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and is on the comeback trail. He is also a talented, persistent athlete but more than that, one of the brightest and most thoughtful individuals you’ll come across.