Next week is July 4th. Already. I know people are all hype about the Olympics coming and all that, but can we slow this down just a little?
Right off the top, we should mention that the US Olympic team has just begun its last week of training in Azerbaijan. We’ll try to snag updates and whatever else throughout the week. There will NOT be a regular Lindland Report coming up on Wednesday. However, there will be something from the coach at some point. Obviously, you will be kept in the loop.
As for actual Greco Roman competition stateside, those Minnesota Juniors sure threw the hammer down in Tulsa, didn’t they? Let’s start there…
Minnesota beat everybody and looked really good doing so
The Minnesota Blue Juniors rode into Oklahoma and put in some impressive work. Coming out of Pool A, the squad ran through Indiana, South Dakota, Tennessee and a game but over-matched Washington in the bracket final. Most teams at the Junior Greco National Duals boasted talented kids but at the same time, had true number one’s in each weight. Minnesota did, too, but even in the weight classes where the experience level wasn’t huge, the depth was. Just too rough of a combination to get a handle on.
Venz, Allar, both McKee’s, Moore, Clark, Lewan…where does it end? One place it did was in the championship final where Minnesota doubled-up on the always-dangerous defending champs from Illinois 42-21. Illinois was not an easy out despite the score. Several matches were extremely contentious and Ashton Clark came back on the strength of a couple of late step-out points to survive via criteria against Anthony Molton. But Minnesota piled up plenty of bonus points as they had all tournament long and that made the margin of victory appear fairly lopsided. Minnesota was great, for sure. But those Illinois wrestlers are tough as nails.
Speaking of which, how about Illinois’s Sergio Villalobos? There he was, mixing it up with the Juniors coming off of competing at the Cadet Duals in Akron. He might have dropped a couple of matches in Tulsa but you’d have to be blind if you don’t see the ability raging from within whenever Villalobos steps on the mat. If you haven’t watched this kid, do so. He’s got a future in this style if he wants one.
Speaking of bright futures, Nick Boykin, the “manchild”, got some matches in out there in Oklahoma for the Tennessee team. A few tech’s, a few pins = just a typical day at the office. Boykin is one age-group wrestler who needs to be challenged by the older Juniors and perhaps some Seniors next year. He’s just a level or two above anyone in his age range in Greco. Not a bad thing.
Rahmanov’s whirlwind at Euro Juniors
The 2016 European Greco Roman Junior Championships went down in Bucharest last week. Some surprises, some not as much. A couple of weird finals, like Zotlan Levai’s (HUN) bout with Ukrainian-in-waiting Artem Matiash at 74 kg. Just an odd match where it looked like there was a lot going on without anything actually going on. Levai couldn’t get inside pretty much at all yet Matiash was content to flip the “on” switch only sporadically. Just strange given the ability of the participants.
One final that wasn’t strange but rather extremely entertaining saw Mikayil Rahmanov (AZE) run over Levani Kavjaradze (GEO) for the 60 kg gold. Just a couple years ago Rahmanov was duking it out at 50 but he looks even better two weight classes up. He certainly did in the finals against Kavjaradze (although, the dude still appears kind of gaunt, if we’re all being honest with each other. Must be a nice cut). A couple of beautifully-executed over-under throws combined with his pleasingly chippy nature made all of his scoring fun to watch as he picked up an 11-2 tech. A couple of his other matches earlier in the day were pretty good, too. But that final was nice.
Support Robby’s family
Robby Smith (130 kg) has become sort of the vocal leader and de-facto face of the 2016 Olympic Greco team and his family could use your help to get to Rio. As we covered here already regarding Provisor and Thielke, the expenses are big and the athletes need the boost they get from loved ones when it’s time to compete. Since we are talking about the Olympics, the impetus is even greater. Smith’s parents travel around the country to watch Robby and have done so for years. This time it’s a different deal. So if you have something to spare, throw it in. The athletes need us more than you probably realize. If you can help get their families there in any way, know it’s appreciated.
Do you have a camp, clinic, or tournament?
Then let us know and we’ll put something up on it. We keep receiving emails from coaches and athletes asking us where they can find Greco camps and it’s becoming tough to answer everyone. So you have two options:
– Purchase an ad for a very reasonable rate that runs as long as you wish.
– Or just send us the information and we’ll put it up clean and easy one time.
Get in touch and let us know the deal – firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming up here…
Yes, there will be both an interview with an athlete this week as well as a new “Memorable Matches” segment. They are already in the queue and waiting to go up…
Did you catch the piece on Lucas Steldt from the Combat Wrestling Club? Plenty of others sure have. We’re going to be highlighting various Greco coaches and clubs going forward and we wanted to start with Steldt simply because this is his lifestyle. Some people are born Greco’ed out and some are made that way. He’s both and his academy stands out just as much as he does…
We also have a featured piece about Ben Provisor fresh on the site so yay for Wisconsinites, apparently. Provisor, as you surely know, was an Olympian in 2012 and on the fast-track towards continued dominance domestically when he got injured. And injured. And injured. These weren’t pretty injuries either and each one set the Greco star back in his career. He healed up in time for April’s Olympic Trials where he went against the great Jake Clark, a man who has experienced a jagged journey of his own. It might not have been an epic OTT final but the participants were and are. It deserves to be remembered and taken into proper context…