This past week, the 26th episode of The Five Point Move Podcast was released featuring guests Nolan Baker (67 kg) and 2019 U23 World Team member Lenny Merkin (72 kg, NJRTC). Baker, the mad headlocking machine, popped on to discuss his recent decision to move out to the Olympic Training Center, and Merkin shared what it’s like to compete for an Ivy League collegiate program while still managing to develop his own unique style (and training plan) for elite Greco competition.
Of course, another one of the main topics brought up during Baker’s segment was his aforementioned headlocks and how he approaches setting up the maneuver at every available opportunity. The discourse was so enthralling that 5PM Podcast co-host and World Champion Dennis Hall forgot to dig into his own headlock story, which he relayed after the episode finished recording.
However, the tale is more about a sweatshirt than it is an actual headlock.
Here is the transcript:
“I’m at the Junior World Championships and getting ready to wrestle (multi-time World and Olympic medalist) Juan Maren from Cuba. And he’s known for his headlock. But I’m like, Yeah, I’ve got good defense, I’m not too worried. We get out there, we’re battling hard. Dude headlocks me, puts me on my back. I’ve got my ass over my head but I’m almost out of it. Next thing I know, I wake up, get back up, and go into my stance ready to wrestle but they raise his hand. He had knocked me out, and this was the last time I was pinned.
“And not only that, that’s not the bad part. The bad part is that I had bought a Wisconsin sweatshirt before the tournament, had that with me. Well, he must have come over to my corner or something and stole my sweatshirt, because I just saw him about five years ago wearing the exact same sweatshirt!
“So he not only knocks me out and pins me, but steals my sweatshirt at the same time (laughs). It’s funny. I saw him when I was overseas, the last time I was in Bulgaria. He was wearing it and this was over 20 years since we wrestled in that tournament. I didn’t say anything to him about it. We just talked because he can speak English, and that’s it. But I saw him wearing my sweatshirt so now I know he’s the one who took it.”