Posts Tagged ‘WNO2014’

Check out a quick pre-match interview with Joseph.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cRM4XwuWw

vincenzo and freddy

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All the athletes at WNO were top notch and most are clearly bound for success at the next level.  It was impressive to see this gathering of High School talent at one duel meet.  Another creative idea from Willie Saylor and well executed onsite by FLO.  Here’s the round up.

Most Compelling Matches:

1. Nick Suriano vs. Daton Fix; may have wrestled the best high school match ever. It was a 33:12 marathon with flurries of activity thoughout the match. Over this half hour event I never saw Fix come out of his stance or good position. At times Suriano showed facial frustration but quickly got control and focus back. Fix was in on so many deep shots; I still can’t believe that he couldn’t finish. Suriano has incredible hips, unique to him, but reminiscent of Kellen Russell’s gyro hips always landing in better position than they started in. His counters are going to work very well at the next level. So will his mental toughness. Suriano is very clear about his college and international goals-championship is what he wants. I’ll put up a post match interview with Suriano later this week. Throughout the 27:12 overtime, the crowd broke into “who wants it” chants; at the end of the match the crowd was noticeably exhausted! A pretty tremendous environment for such a great match. If these guys stay at the same weights the wrestling public is in for some serious competition between these two young men. Oh yea it was Suriano who finished the takedown at 33:12 into the match to win 3-1.

2. Ke-Shawn Hayes vs. Matt Kolodzik was interesting for a few reasons. Hayes was a very highly regarded recruit before recently committing to Ohio State. Kolodzik is reportedly committed to UVA, but after the match he wouldn’t comment on it. Kolodzik won 4-0 but totally dominated Hayes, took him down, rode him for the entire 2nd period and got a relatively quick escape in the 3rd. Hayes wasn’t really in this match. Kolodzik’s skills will translate well at the next level. Where will it be? Kolodzik’s stock jumped the most at this event except for Mark Hall.  I’m guessing that he’s getting a lot of phone calls today.

3. Vincenzo Joseph vs. Fredy Stroker. They have history with Joseph recently blowing Stroker out at Fargo; Stroker had many extenuating circumstances in the run up to that match (accident, surgery, etc). Joseph won a close 3-2 match this time around. Post match Joseph was surprised how much Stroker changed up his style and position from their Fargo match. Joseph has shown he knows how to win big and small, which is a very transferable skill at the next level. Fredy ain’t no slouch either, and made lots of adjustments.  You can see my interview with VJ later this week.  See him warming up here: http://youtu.be/V6ARXdDuI9Q 

4. Anthony Valencia (#1 #4# in the country) vs. Mark Hall (#2 #4# in the country). Valencia won their last meeting by 1 point and was talking about a major decision at this event. He was right it was the night’s only bonus decision but it was Mark Hall who dominated the match from the opening whistle to the last second. Hall took home a 10-1 major that included scores form all three positions. Try and find out the last time Valencia gave up back points? I couldn’t find it but it has to have been a long time. Hall totally changed up his strategy from their last meeting and his adjustments were spot on. He lowered his stance and used his arms to keep Valencia from blasting double leg shots. He overpowered Valencia in two upper body locks for takedowns. He also was able to out scramble Valencia from all positions. The only time Valencia threatened to score was a wild scramble where he had Hall flat on his back for a split second but couldn’t control it and ended up still remaining on bottom with no points scored. Valencia has shades of David Taylor and Hall has shades of Kyle Dake; both look like can’t miss recruits. The question is where will Hall go to college. He teased the PSU nation with mentions of Sanderson and Taylor in a pre match interview. Everybody wants him and he’s getting lots of attention from JB, DT and many other wrestling greats trying to get him to their school. He said that it’s been a stressful process and hopes to announce his decision after the season. Just another great kid and his skills will translate very well at the next level. I hope that he picks a PA school so I can watch him “live” for 5 years. You can see his full interview here in a few days.

5. Another thing the Flo did that was innovative was have a pro match between Robert “The Vermonster” Hamlin and Chris Perry with a hybrid of folk and freestyle rules. These guys wrestled shirtless as well but toweled off the sweat like freestyle matches making for less slippery action and technique. Hamlin has been a little quiet on the national level and I thought that Perry would have the advantage. However Hamlin after giving up the first point on a push out did the scoring for the rest of the match. In a pre-match interview Perry said that he is solely focused on being on the world team next year and Olympic team after that. He’s got a long hill to climb, but is a single-minded person from a determined wrestling family. You can see his interview here later this week. It was a good match and I hope Flo, unlike others that have tried this approach, can make enough money to grow this element of the sport.

Overall Lehigh was a great host university for the event. Fans got to see some great wrestling, meet and greet great senior wrestlers and share in the growth of the sport with several electric moments that won’t soon be forgotten. If you liked this event send Willie a message. It was his baby conceptually and it was a beautiful night for the sport. I interviewed him after the event and you can see that here soon as well.  Follow my blog to get updates.

vincenzo and freddy

Who’s #1 Was More Than I was Expecting

Flo and Willie Saylor did a great job at the event. I’ve heard mixed things about the Internet feed. Lots of wrestling celebrities were there, Ben Askren, Jordan Burroughs, David Taylor and lots of hall of fame caliber coaches. Grace Hall was loud and crowed but not totally sold out. Most importantly most of the matches were very entertaining. If you don’t have Flo Pro the matches will be on the free part of their site within the week.

Here are a few take always.

  1. The singlet is going away, I don’t know when but shorts and a shirt are going to gradually increase in popularity as uniforms. Who’s #1 wrestlers were wearing loose shorts and a rash guard top. I thought the shorts were a failure. They were too long and loose. They interfered with a few wrestlers locking their hands on single leg shots. A few boys tried to tape up the length of the shorts, only to have them fall part way through their match. In the future they will be improved, more form fitting and less material to get in the way, but still marketable. In three matches the wrestlers went shirtless. This made for slick conditions but was entertaining. Who’s going to be the first team to make the switch? I’m guessing that it will be a forward thinking prep school. Closely ranked wrestlers and some cautiousness made a third of the matches go into overtime.
  2. A note for all wresters and coaches about warming up before a match. Most wrestlers I’ve coached over the years don’t warm up enough prior to wrestling. Everyone at this event wrestled almost a full practice prior to their match. If you don’t have a good pre-match workout look on line or email me and I’ll send you one for before a duel meet and or a tournament. An extensive warm up ensures your best performance. Take a look: http://youtu.be/zNy8EAdw_Hw
  3. I talked with several wresters at the event. Every one of them was incredibly good to deal with, humble, happy, appreciative and to me they felt genuine. What a great sport.
  4. David Taylor is still a huge fan favorite. He signed posters, shirts and took pictures for a long line of people, mostly kids for a little more than an hour. He could have continued but the match had to start. David told me the his body is healthy again and that he’s fully focused on getting onto the Olympic team and because of that he didn’t really consider the recent PSU coaching opening. Good luck DT! Interview to be posted soon, so check back.
  5. Jordan Burroughs was greeted excitedly by the crowd each time he emerged, starting with a standing ovation during his intro. He was fairly visible throughout, chatting up fans and shooting t-shirts into the stands. Everyone that I know and have met universally likes him. He told me that he’s just getting back on the mat after letting his knee heal up from his recent injury at worlds. He’s solely focused on world and Olympic Golds. I got the feeling that he might not stay in coaching after his career is over. Check back for his interview to be posted soon.
  6. At many all-star events athletes come in tight or with “a cautious” attitude. Most of these wrestlers came with a focused aggressiveness.

The matches are all up on Flo Pro and will be free soon, so I’m limiting my thoughts to stand out matches or situations viewable in my next blog post. Overall, an excellent and exciting event – I hope more of you take advantage of seeing world class matches!  Mark your calendars for next year.

Tune in for live tweets and updated blog posts live from Who’s Number 1 tonight. I’ll be matside.

vincenzo and freddy