Theres no way to sugarcoat it: the United States decision to not send teams to this year’s World Wrestling Championships creates an oral vacuum of immense magnitude. Athletes have voiced a variety of opinions on the matter, coaches have (mostly) quietly supported the USA Wrestling decision, but fans are pissed. Frankly, throw all of it into the lap of UWW (United World Wrestling). They went through more format changes with this event than Bruce Jenner post Olympics. And just as messy. Once it was announced that the competition facility was being converted into an emergency Covid-19 center, well, that put a cork in it for the USA. We weren’t the first team to say “no thanks”, and we weren’t the last. The U.W.W. had a mess on its hands, and after it became apparent they couldn’t make it work, they made it into something else. Some kind of something called an “Individual World Cup” will be held instead. Whom from what countries will risk much for who knows what is very much up in the air. Stateside, though, there are a bunch of high level matches popping up all over the place. Ohio St. 4xAA and 2016 National champ Myles Martin just stepped up to and through a LOADED field of former National champs, AAs, and international medalists in a winner take twenty thousand dollar title tournament at 195 lbs. Kudos again to FloWrestling and their slick work at making the 1 day mini tournament for pay fun and, slowly, part of the sports future. Also in the Flowage: a showdown match between the current G.O.A.T. of American Freestyle wrestling, Jordan Burroughs, and former 3xAA, 2X NCAA champ for Arizona State, Zahid Valencia. The card will have 7 total bouts featuring all 3 styles, Men’s and Womens Freestyle and Greco-Roman. In addition there’s another, 8 man event coming to be competed at 150 lbs. You go Flo!(1) At months beginning the Hawkeye Wrestling Club held a hybrid intersquad tournament/showcase event with lots of current Iowa stars in action against both international veterans and each other. Easily the highlight here was current Hawkeye(2) Jaydin Eiermans 4-1 win over former Olympic and World Champ Vladimer Kinchegashvili. 2X Iowa 125lb National Champ Spenser Lee brutalized former 4X Minnesota AA Zach Sanders with a first period pin. The rest of the Hawkeyes on the main card wrestled well but came up short against internationally experienced US athletes. Red, White and Blue winners included 2 former NC State stars with 5 college AA awards and multiple international medals between them. Nick Gwiazdowski (@NGWIZZ on Twitter) was a Binghamton Bearcat AA before he was a 3x finalist and 2x champ for the WolfPack, and Tommy Gantt (@TGantt70kg on twitter) both showed bigtime freestyle chops in their respective 10-0 and 10-6 wins. Also victorious, former Nebraska 4x AA and world medalist James Green. Green and Gantt(3), along with 2x World Champ, 4x National Champ for Cornell Kyle Dake and former Illinois 4x AA, 2x champ Isaiah Martinez are a fearsome foursome indeed in the battle for the US World team spot at 74kg. Oh, and there’s this fellow named Burroughs trying to keep that place on the team for himself. He was mentioned before, you may have heard of him? Multiple time World Champ? Olympic Champ? 9x medalist at the World level? Yeah, that guy. DAMN. We are GOOD at 74kg.
LET ME TELL YOU, JUNIORS, ITS ALL ABOUT THE “U” (23s, that is)
Current studs and future stars. NO Hurricanes or Hillbillies here, friends. Just some of Americas best and brightest young wrestlers converging on Omaha, Nebraska the weekend of the 13th-15th for the UWW Juniors Tournament and the U-23 National Championships. USA Wrestling is the host organization for the event, and athletes will compete in Mens Freestyle, Womens Freestyle, and Greco-Roman across 10 weight classes. Yes, the FULL 10 weight classes, NOT the shrunken amount of 6 the I.O.C. allows at their hallowed event. Whoops, sorry, close to an Idiots Outta Control rant there. Anyway, there will be a whole LOTTA great wrestling with the champs of each weight class earning a bid to the Senior World Team Trials next year. Those not age eligible for the Sr. Worlds will earn a spot for their age appropriate Trials, set for 2021 as well. MANY thanks to the talented and elusive Taylor Miller (Gregorio?) for the mid September story break on these matters. Her always-enjoyable work can be found on the USA Wrestling site. Under at least 2 surnames. Possibly more. Not sure. Pretty sure she still won’t consent to an interview for this column. Sigh.
FULL TIME DAD FOR THE WIN, CANADIAN STYLE
God Bless our friendly, funky, left leaning neighbors to the Great White North. Canada has amazing, well, pretty much everything. World class people, places, and things, even if their cultural/political ideologies and their calendars are a bit off. What’s with Thanksgiving in October, anyway? In any case, it needs noting here that one of the great heavyweights of the Free World has thrown his and lots of other folks 125-130kg mass around for the last time. Korey Jarvis has carried the Maple Leaf to the podium multiple times at the Commonwealth Games, the Pan Am Games, and battled Canadian proud style at the 2016 Olympics. Jarvis is the only athlete to win his countries Freestyle AND Greco Roman Hvt. Championship 3 consecutive times. Now he will take on his biggest challenge: raising his daughter Brynlee. Firefighters School(4) next to those two careers? Childs play. Happy retirement Korey! Amar Dhesi will take it from here.
PAHK THAT MAHT IN THE GHARAHGE
For the first time since LBJ put his boots up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the New England Wrestling Championships are…not. The Chinese Virus, or rather its ongoing 2nd iteration, was enough to convince the 6 state conglomerate to go thumbs-down on the premiere event. It’s not just wrestling, folks. Many Fall and Winter Sports were kiboshed by various and sundry state organizations. This was more the death of a thousand cuts as 1 state after another pulled the plug on out of state sports competitions and, in a number of cases, in state as well. Sad. Hopefully justice, perhaps in the form of an amended later-date event, will help the dedicated athletes from a lightly recruited area(5) get the exposure they deserve.
‘CUE THE LOCAL ANGLE
At that capacious, cool, comfortable Central San Antonio BBQ stop hard by Hardberger Park but easy on your wallet, yet more wrestling school alums and sports fans enjoyed the food and the camaraderie these past few weeks. The Gleason family celebrated a wedding to be as the crew from Shell Lake, Wisconsin savored some smoked meat and shared a family shot with flying “W”s to show their school pride. Also enjoying the ambience of the big main room, former Drake soccer star David Narvaez. Memories of his college roommate brought a smile to Dave’s face as he recounted the former Bulldogs wrestlers quirkiness. Or something like that. Interestingly, it was only that soccer scholarship that kept Narvaez from attending Missouri, and his sports allegiances lie strong with the Tigers now. Two nieces attend, and Dave was quite aware of the colossus that Brian Smith has engineered on the mats in Columbia. So remember that no matter when you make your way to SA, or for whatever reason, you should carve out some time and cut into some ‘Cue at that big, friendly place on Blanco Road.
See you sometime soon!
(1) Just not so often to the courtroom, please, and go easy on Willie, already. It’s the Holiday Season, people!
(2) Eierman was a 3xAA for Brian Smith’s Missouri Tigers before transfering to Iowa and taking an Olympic redshirt this past season.
(3) The Scribe urges you to follow the marvelous Mr. Gantt, a favorite since 2015 despite his recent disappearance from the authors Twitterfeed because…elections? Possibly. *SIGH*
(4) NOW we know why those Northwestern U.S. wildfires are afraid to jump the border.
(5) The Scribe and Bride turned a weekend convention visit to Albany, NY, in Spring 2019, into a weeklong combo tour of Vermont. Details on the TripAdvisor site @784TedC., but do yourself a favor and just go. Its prettier than the postcards and better than most of the stories.