Greco Roman athletes from the Northern Michigan-Olympic Training Site went five for five Saturday at the Eduardo Campbell Cup in Panama City, Panama. Dalton Roberts (59 kg) continued his steady climb as a name to keep an eye on going forward by nailing down a gold medal. Roberts was probably grateful to get the matches in, considering he was set to compete at the University World Championships at the end of this month in Turkey until USA Wrestling pulled the plug on the trip out of security fears. It’s a good sign for both him and NMU that he had no trouble picking up where he left off.
Silver medals went to Corey Fitzgerald (75 kg) and Zack Bickford (80 kg). Once again, results in foreign territory are vital to domestic development, and both Fitzgerald and Bickford are showing they are game for getting out there and doing what’s necessary. Technical scrapper Andrew Ibarra (59 kg) and tough Texan David Prado (75 kg) each claimed bronze. Five went to Panama, five earned medals. It deserves recognition.
UWW Moves Worlds to October starting in 2018
United World Wrestling announced last week that beginning in 2018, the World Championships will be moved to the month of October. The event, usually held in September or at the very end of August, is being pushed back to better promote events. More space between tournaments, more ability to properly advertise. Apparently. The other part of this news is that the World Cups are also being changed to the end of the year. That actually might make things more interesting because it fills what is usually a semi-blank spot on the calendar.
RaVaughn needs to heal
2016 US Olympic Team Trials champion RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) was on pace to return at the non-Olympic World Team Trials next month but that is no longer the case. Perkins was dealing with a small fracture in his back for months — it first became a competitive issue in Mongolia at the 1st OG Qualifiers. He did what he could to treat the injury so that the weight could still get qualified in Turkey but by the time he arrived back in the States, the problem grew. Perkins diligently rehabbed and within a couple of months was lifting heavy and back on the mat. As recently as August, he seemed like a new man. In fact, with his eyes on trying to lock down the spot at 71 kg, he had put on considerable size and sounded extraordinarily motivated by what the immediate future might bring.
But over the last while, the back started acting up, leading him to experience pain and stiffness. Finally, x-rays confirmed that the fracture had not healed, therefore, he was not cleared to continue training. This is certainly disappointing news for Perkins, the program, and fans who were looking forward to seeing him in action next month. According to US National Team head coach Matt Lindland, rest is the only remedy.
“You’ve got to rest that and the rest period is extensive. And you know how these wrestlers are, they think they are invincible, they think they are resting and doing some light pummeling but next thing you know, they’re throwing someone with a headlock and re-tweaking it. Rest sometimes means staying off the mat. I know it’s hard for these guys, that’s what they do their whole lives, they’re athletes.”
With Perkins out, that means one less contender at 71. Fan-favorite Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm), who was the runner-up to Perkins in April, along with 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP) and Alex Sancho (NYAC/NMU) are the biggest names still expected to compete. So even though there are a few exciting match-up’s taken away with the Perkins news, 71 still has the capability to be an extremely entertaining bracket to watch out for.
What’s coming up here
- An interview with Patrick “Lone Wolf” Martinez. The 2015 World Team member at 80 kilos is setting his sights on representing the country again this year at the weight, so the Trials next month are a big topic. What is really remarkable about Martinez is that he’s only approximately two and a half years into his full-time Greco Roman career. In that time, he’s won a National title, wrestled in a World Championships, made the University World team, placed in a couple of overseas events, and is now the owner of a world ranking (world no. 17). Impressive stuff.
- Witnessing a Sunset – The Impact of Spenser Mango Part II — The legendary career of the now-retired Spenser Mango is given a detailed recap, tracing his performances in the last several World Championships all the way to his final match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. If you are a Mango fan, the second part has it all. There may be another wrestler down the road who reminds everyone of Spenser, but there won’t be another one like him.
- An all-new Coach Lindland’s Report. Once again, we will be calling on the community to participate, so join the conversation. If you have questions for Coach Lindland, any questions (but be reasonable, please), send them through the proper channels and they will be addressed appropriately.