Northern Michigan

USA Junior World Team Camp Blasts Off at NMU

Nic Bouzakis -- Photo: Sam Janicki

The 2021 Junior World Championships for Greco-Roman begins in less than three weeks, making now a good time for somewhere to host a training camp — so, Northern Michigan University’s National Training Site is doing exactly that.

Beginning yesterday and stretching to the end of this week, six of the ten athletes who will represent the United States in Ufa, Russia later this month are grinding it out inside of the Superior Dome alongside a collection of NMU’s full-time Greco students. Practices are expected to offer the requisite amount of intensity, and given Northern’s substantial roster, plenty of partners. But while training for a World tournament is serious business, a sense of balance is also apparently on the docket. “Of course I want these guys to succeed, but I want them to have fun, as well,” said Northern Michigan head coach Andy Bisek. “Hopefully, this camp can provide that for them.”

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The Junior World Teamers are joined by several out-of-town Seniors, two of whom from the Illinois Regional Training Center — ’20 National runner-up West Cathcart (130 kg, NYAC) and ’20 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier winner Tanner Farmer (130 kg, NYAC). Cathcart was a fresh-faced 96-kilogram competitor during his tenure at NMU, which ended in ’16 due to a batch of injuries. Following a multi-season hiatus, he re-entered the competitive landscape as a heavyweight in ’19 and is enjoying the best run of his career.

But the primary focus is on those wrestlers going to Russia with World-level aspirations in mind.

During a typical summer training phase for Junior World rosters, camps are held at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. In addition, athletes often have the option to enter one or two tournaments, or travel abroad. With restrictions still in place, particularly at the OTC, settling on a location for the Juniors’ preparation this year would have seemed to present unusual challenges had it not been for two facilities: Legends of Gold in South Dakota and NMU. Instead of having to scramble for adequate training, the Juniors who have been able to take advantage of these opportunities are not missing a beat compared to most other “no years.. LOG hosted a camp centering around U20 athletes last month, and now NMU is providing one more prior to their departure for Eastern Europe in two weeks.

NMU Junior WT Camp Roster

August 2-6 — Marquette, MI

60 kg: Nic Bouzakis (PA)
63 kg: Chayse LaJoie (Spartan Wrestling RTC)
67 kg: Dominic Damon (NMU/NTS)
77 kg: Matt Singleton (Compound WC)
87 kg: Kodiak Stephens (Ebbetts Pass)
130 kg: Luke Luffman (IRTC)

The 2021 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships begin August 20 in Ufa, RUS. 

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