U.S. Greco-Roman athletes to train in Russia and at Northern Michigan in early January

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Jan. 04, 2014, 2:43 p.m. (ET)
Photos of Spenser Mango of the USA at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Top U.S. Greco-Roman athletes will participate in two important training camps in early January 2014, in preparation for the upcoming international season.

A nine-athlete delegation is heading overseas for an international training camp in Moscow, Russia from January 5-17.

Included on the nine-athlete training tour are four members of the 2013 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team: Spenser Mango (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP), Andy Bisek (Colorado Springs, Colo./Minnesota Storm), Jordan Holm (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) and Robbie Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC).

Also on the tour are 2012 Olympian Ben Provisor (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) and two-time U.S. World Team member Joe Betterman (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP).

The U.S. athletes will train with many of Russia’s best Greco-Roman wrestlers and coaches, and athletes from other nations are also expected in the camp.

“We are bringing some of our top guys to Russia, because the Russians are very tough, and there will be a lot of other countries at this training camp as well. We have been to this training camp before, which is held at one of their Olympic Training Centers. It is two-a-day great training with some of the best wrestlers in the world. We hope to learn from this and keep improving our skills,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser.

The U.S. will not participate in a competition during this tour. It will be an important preparation phase for the athletes who are expected to wrestle in two major Greco-Roman events held in Colorado Springs, Colo. in late January, the Jack Pinto Cup on January 25 and the Dave Schultz Memorial International on January 30.

“This is perfect timing. We had a little break for Christmas. Now this kicks off the main part of our season. Our guys are on the verge of making some big strides in their skill set, and this will help them tremendously,” said Fraser.

Another large group of American Greco-Roman wrestlers will head to a national training camp at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., January 5-15.

A number of national team members and nationally-ranked wrestlers will join the athletes from the USOEC Greco-Roman team who train full-time in Marquette for a joint training camp. The camp will be led by USOEC head coach Rob Hermann and USOEC assistant coach Aghasi Manukian, and will feature other talented coaches who will work with the athletes.

Among the star athletes on the tentative camp roster are 2010 U.S. World Team member Jake Fisher (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) and 2013 U.S. Open champion David Arendt (Camp Lejeune, N.C./U.S. Marines).

“Normally, we have this training camp in Colorado Springs as our January national camp. One reason we decided to take it up to Northern Michigan is that one of our goals at that camp is to bring our university-age guys together with our Senior guys for a couple of weeks. It helps our university wrestlers because they get to work with the Seniors. It helps our Seniors, who are getting a lot of different partners. Coaches Rob Hermann and Aghasi Manukian will run a great camp for the athletes,” said Fraser.

At the conclusion of these training camps, many of these Greco-Roman athletes will head to Colorado Springs, Colo. for additional training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center from January 20-30. There will be athletes from a number of foreign teams also training with the American athletes, in preparation for the Jack Pinto Cup and the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

“The key to our success and the key to our improvement is getting training camps with good foreign athletes. That is what the Jack Pinto Cup and the Dave Schultz Memorial International are designed to do. We will bring in five or six full foreign teams here. It is a great time for our athletes to get quality competition in their home nation, where they don’t have to travel across continents to wrestle,” said Fraser.

It is also a transition time for Senior athletes, who will have to decide which international weight class they will compete in moving forward. In December 2013, the international wrestling federation FILA announced that there will be eight weight classes in the World Championships in each style, which is an increase of one weight class from last year. Included are six Olympic weights and two non-Olympic weights. The new weight classes will be used in international events starting in January 2014, and the weights differ from those used in previous seasons.

USA Greco-Roman Training Tour
Moscow, Russia, Jan. 5-17

U.S. roster (by 2013 weight classes)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Spenser Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Joe Betterman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Kendrick Sanders, Homestead, Fla. (New York AC/USOEC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Andy Bisek, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Geordan Speiller, Ovieda, Fla. (Florida Jets)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Jordan Holm, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Marcus Finau, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Assistant National Greco-Roman Coach Momir Petkovic, Colorado Springs, Colo.

National Greco-Roman Training Camp
USOEC at Marquette, Mich., Jan. 5-15

Tentative participants at training camp (with 2013 weight classes)

55 kg/121 lbs. - Nate Engel, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Max Nowry, Wheeling, Ill. (New York AC/USOEC)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Paul Tellgren, Anoka, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Nikko Triggas, Moraga, Calif. (New York AC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Julian Gunnels, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Devin Scott, Burnsville, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Brian Graham, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Bo Beckman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Jake Fisher, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Cory Hope, Carol Stream, Ill. (Mat Rats)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Caleb Smith, Pakota, Ind.
84 kg/185 lbs. - Peter Hicks, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Zach Nielsen, Zimmerman, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Josef Rau, Minneapolis, Minn . (Minnesota Storm)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Ryan Hope, Carol Stream, Ill. (Mat Rats)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Courtney Myers, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Patrick Carey, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - David Arendt, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Eric Nye, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)

Along with the USOEC Greco-Roman Team at Northern Michigan
Click here for USOEC Greco-Roman roster

USOEC Head Coach – Rob Hermann, Marquette, Mich.
USOEC Assistant Coach – Aghasi Manukian, Marquette, Mich.
Coach – Bruce Robinson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Derrick Waldroup, Kingwood, Texas