The first thing you need to know about Kerry Regner is that he’s the type who basically needs to have a vast list of tasks to accomplish. As an actual human, he can at times be calm and introspective, and he is a fantastic listener. Probably because he’s always trying to absorb everything he possibly can. Regner likes learning, and he likes weaponizing his knowledge even more.
But if there isn’t some grand to-do list hanging in his office, he’s a bundle of nervous energy. His brain works too fast; therefore, it requires constant feeding. This is a guy who needs missions to accomplish
Now in his third year as head coach for Millersville University, Regner is passing along his deep love for goal-chasing and associated quests for wrestling truths to his (young) charges, and the results are steadily beginning to reflect this influence. Millersville is not yet at the top of the Division II heap, but the team, rounded out by several capable prospects, is gelling at the right time of year, which has Regner as pumped for the future as much as he is for the near-present.
There is one other enormous task on Regner’s list coming up aside from the DII Nationals. Millersville University will be the site of the 2020 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier (March 27-28), which is already perhaps the most compelling domestic tournament of the season considering the allotment of Senior stars who are still locked out of the Trials.
For Regner, this event hits close to home, and not just because he’s responsible for hosting it. As a proud Northern Michigan alum and former Greco-Roman National Team member, Regner views the Last Chance tournament as an enormous opportunity to push both Greco and women’s freestyle into the spotlight during the most critical point of the quad. He wants folks from PA as well as all over the country to see what he sees. That’s why he’s working so hard. Though, again, let’s be fair, he’s used to that.
5PM: I keep up with your program but don’t know how the puzzle pieces fit and what results mean insofar as implications for the postseason. So, how are things looking for Millersville this season?
Coach Kerry Regner: We have a lot of promise for the postseason. You can see guys consistently improving in many ways in the room and in competition. The team knows that everything we are doing right now in competition and in training is to prepare for the end of the year. I am confident each individual has that in mind. Their best is yet to come.
5PM: You are in your third year at Millersville. How much of a difference, in whichever ways, do you notice compared to Year 1?
Regner: Very different in nearly every way except it is the same product, which is college wrestling. The big factor is, we are moving in the right direction, guys are buying in, and we will continue to make strides forward. I love coaching, all the teams I have coached, and this one is no different. We are extremely young and our future is bright.
5PM: What made you want to host the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier this year?
Regner: What a great event this will be. In my mind, top five of the year! You have the (Olympic) Trials, NCAA’s, Big Ten’s, the (US) Open, and the Last Chance. The star power will be so huge in all three styles. It’s more than a win-win… It’s so many wins on top of that. In every aspect we are grateful to host such a great event.
5PM: In your opinion, as an outlier in that you are a ‘true Greco guy’ who is the head of a college scholastic program, how can Greco in the US use the Last Chance Qualifier to it’s full advantage in terms of promoting the style?
Regner: I love Greco. I could wrestle it, teach it, and watch it for days. And ultimately, Greco and women’s wrestling loyalists need to show the rest of the wrestling community, and governing bodies, what Greco and women’s wrestling means to them by attending. To be frank, for the Greco and women finals we might not pull out the lower bleachers. We don’t anticipate a big crowd on Friday. On Saturday for freestyle, we expect a packed house. Tickets are on sale now, so the Greco and women’s communities have the ability to change that. And the opportunity could not better because you do have a pocket of both Greco and Women’s loyalists in this area. They have the ability to champion this event.
Not to get off the Greco topic, but you have women’s wrestling constantly badgering the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) regarding how or why women’s wrestling isn’t sanctioned yet, and rightfully so. Well, here you go! A chance where pictures, videos, and excitement could not be presented better right in the PIAA’s own backyard. The PIAA headquarters in less than an hour from here.
And the same goes for Greco. I see on social media that Greco loyalists recognize the lack of parity compared to freestyle. Well, there’s no better time to take it into your own hands. As wrestlers like to say, You get what you earn. Well this is that kind of chance for Greco and women supporters to come get theirs.
5PM: Has it been difficult this season between coaching the team, organizing the Shorty (Hitchcock Memorial), and planning the Last Chance?
Coach Kerry Regner: Coaching, or for that matter any other occupation, can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. We had a hugely successful open with the Shorty. We are preparing to peak with the end of the year coming up, and well, the Last Chance will take care of itself. I love coaching, and weirdly, I love working. The difficulty is making sure I am giving my family the time they deserve. I have little free time but I like it that way. Faith, family, wrestling — it doesn’t get much better than that!