USA Wrestling Greco-Roman National...

Greco-Roman National Team member Alex Sancho transitions from Northern Michigan to U.S. Olympic Training Center

By Viviane Fracasso, USA Wrestling | March 23, 2018, 11:53 a.m. (ET)

Three-time National Team member and U23 World Teamer Alejandro Sancho, often called Alex, recently moved to Colorado Springs four months ago in search of a fresh start. Sancho, who spent the last six years training out of Northern Michigan’s Olympic Training Site, made the move in late 2017.

“I just wanted a change of atmosphere, a change of location,” Sancho said. “I love the coaches out at NMU and I love the facility, but I just wanted something new and I thought the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs would be the perfect place. I knew this would be a great fit for me. I’ve been getting healthier and improving my wrestling.”

One of the motivations behind Sancho’s move to the Olympic Training Center came from two-time Senior World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek. Bisek helped in Sancho’s development as an assistant coach at NMU-OTS.

“I saw how Andy (Bisek) lived out here at the OTC and it made me want to follow in his shoes. Learning from all the coaches out here like Momir (Petkovic), Mohamed (Abdelfatah), (Matt) Lindland and Gary (Mayabb) has been great,” Sancho said.

“He was one of the best guys in Northern Michigan,” said Greco-Roman Assistant Coach Mohammed Abdelfatah. “We are really glad to have him here. I really believe in him. Right now we are focusing on improving his techniques but he really has tremendous potential.”

NMU-OTS head coach Rob Hermann first took notice of Sancho the summer after his high school senior year when he competed at the 2012 Fargo Junior Greco National Championships representing the state of Florida.

“Rob asked me if I wanted to come to Northern Michigan and train Greco-Roman full time. I couldn’t say no. I already had a background in judo that began when I was eight. I felt like Greco was easier for me than folkstyle,” Sancho said.

Within Sancho’s first year at Northern Michigan he became a 2013 FILA Junior Greco National champion, repeating the following year in 2014.

He solidified his presence at the Senior level when he won his first international tournament at the 2014 Bill Farrell International.

“Coming first at the Bill Farrell International that year was an eye opener for me. It actually put me on the map and the U.S. Coaches definitely took more notice. I felt like I could actually compete with these Senior-level athletes,” Sancho said.

Sancho became a National Team member through runner-up finishes at the 2015 and 2017 U.S. World Team Trials and a third-place performance at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Later in 2016 he produced a runner-up finish at the Non-Olympic Weight U.S. World Team Trials.

In 2017 he made the U23 World Team after defeating Sahid Kargbo, two matches to none, in the finals. Although Sancho went on to represent the United States at the U23 Worlds in Bydgoszcz, Poland, he did not accomplish the goals he had set out for.

“I trained really hard for U23. I was one of the favorites to medal for the U.S. I had Belarus first round, but unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. I didn’t feel good at all after that. I shut a lot of people out. I needed some time to think and regroup myself,” Sancho recalled.

Sancho now turns his focus to the 2018 Bill Farrell Memorial International that will be held at the New York Athletic Club in New York City on March 30-31. He looks to repeat his 2014 results.

“Right now my main focus is taking one tournament at a time, one by one, winning each one. Also making a World Team and bringing a medal back. That’s my main objective,” Sancho said.