The word is in and the demand is too high.
The Olympic Training Site at Northern Michigan University is set to host its annual Superior International Camp beginning next week and this year’s running will be bigger than ever. In fact, the camp, which is welcoming in a team from Sweden to participate, will see a staggering 115 wrestlers gobbling up mat space. “We are at capacity”, confirmed NMU-OTS head coach Rob Hermann. “We’re turning away people now, which is a good thing for Greco.” Held in 2014, the first Superior International Camp had over 70 wrestlers from three different countries (counting the US athletes). 2016’s edition is proof that Hermann has tapped into something. It is also evident of significant growth in the style. “We couldn’t handle anymore”, continued Hermann. “We’ve got three mats and over a hundred kids. The main focus is to give them a total week of Greco, which is very unusual for this country.”
So what can the athletes who will take part in the Superior International Camp expect? The whole spectrum of Greco Roman wrestling will be covered, giving both the US and the international wrestlers all the time they need to continue sharpening their skills. “We’re going to warm up for 20 to 30 minutes, Greco drills”, says Hermann. “One hour of instruction of feet, mat, par terre defense or par terre lifts and gutwrenches. And in the last 20 to 30 minutes of both the morning and evening practices we’re going to wrestle. We’re going to do three minute go’s or one minute go’s because we can’t fit 100 guys on the mat at one time if I run three minute matches. So this way, everyone’s getting some mat time.”
A typical day at the Olympic Training Site next week looks something like this: Breakfast at 7:00am; morning practice session from 8:30am to 10:30am; lunch from 11:00am to 1:00pm; and then the evening practice, which begins at 3:00pm and goes until 5:00pm. And it won’t just be Hermann calling all the shots inside the Dome, either. Aghasi Manukyan, the assistant coach at NMU and also a former World Champion, will be running the first few days of practice before handing over the reigns to the Swedish coaches. “It’s so they get the flavor of what the other countries do in their practices”, Hermann explained.
The US Juniors have had plenty of activity as of late. Just a couple weeks ago was the Junior Greco World Duals in Concord, California. Next up is the Superior Camp followed by other training opportunities throughout the summer. It is all bookended by the Junior World Championships, which commence in late August. “It’s a great tune-up for our Cadet and Junior World Teams”, Hermann says of the camp. “Our whole Junior World Team is going to be here, maybe one might be missing. This is like a pre-tour before they go to the Worlds. Make your mistakes here so you don’t make them at the World Championships.”
In just its third year, the Superior International Camp has already grown leaps and bounds. With over one hundred Cadet and Junior Greco wrestlers converging in Michigan this time, who knows what it might look like a year from now. The numbers keep increasing and it’s an arm of the overall program that is on the rise. If you’re a motivated Cadet or accomplished Junior looking to build your skills, this is the kind of battle-testing circumstance that the US has been wanting to offer for you. The only problem? Too many wanted in this time around and registration is now closed.
If you are a parent or wrestler interested in learning more about training at the Olympic Training Site at Northern Michigan University, please contact:
NMU-OTS Head Coach Rob Hermann