This week your Junior Team USA squad wrestles the World Championships in Tampere, Finland. As we all know, Tampere is about 2 hours (by car) north of Helsinki, which is east of Stockholm (Sweden), north (across the Baltic) from Tallinn (Estonia), and just about 4 hours (by car) west of St. Petersburg, Russia. Today’s high temp should be about 69 degrees F.
It’s a long way from State College, PA. You’re not driving an RV there, because of the whole “Atlantic Ocean” thing. A direct flight, if you could find one, is about 9 hours from NYC. Yet, it’s not horrible, really, if you’re comparing it to somewhere in Asia.
Unless you need to weigh-in shortly after arrival. And you’re seated in the middle for the flight. Between two people wolfing doughnuts and burgers.
God testing me on this first flight. Guy next to me has my favorite sub, and the girl next to me has dunkin donuts. Bring it— Daylight™ (@BaybeeMarky_PSU) July 28, 2017
Thus, Mark Hall’s battle for a 2nd consecutive Junior World Gold began shortly after take off.
Preliminaries began today (Tuesday) at 10am Tampere time, which - according to the Google machine - is 3AM in State College. Medal matches begin at 6:30pm (11:30am State College). All of it will be live streamed via TrackWrestling.
Four weights go on Tuesday, as follows:
- 50kg - Malik Heinselman (OHST commit);
- 60kg - Mitch McKee (MINN);
- 74kg - Mark Hall (PSU); and
- 96kg - Kollin Moore (OHST)
And we get the other 4 weights on Wednesday:
- 55kg - Daton Fix (OKST commit);
- 65kg - Ryan Deakin (jNW);
- 85kg - Zahid Valencia (ASU);
- 125kg - Gable Steveson (MINN commit).
Expect a bunch of USA medals. Hall (Gold), Fix (Bronze), and Steveson (2x Cadet Gold) each medaled last year. Moore and Valencia came up just short last year, and - beyond the experience factor - are both better wrestlers this time around. Could be a record haul for Team USA.
Our guy, Mark Hall, drew the Eastern Euros, who are effectively the home team. He opens with a Ukrainian kid, and will get either a Russian or an Azerbaijanii in the second. Doughnuts, Russians - doesn’t matter. Kid’s a killer.
- BSD grips online, Sandy takes action. Two weeks ago, we openly wondered what the hold up was for getting Team Sanderson / Cunningham / Varner a new contract. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said, “I’m sorry, BSD. Let me take care of that.” And poof - done. (//pats self on back for wearing big boy pants)
- Sports journalists non-pareil FloWrestling requested copies of Federal tax filings from all of the top “non-profit” wrestling clubs throughout our wonderful land. Those returns confirmed what has long been known: money is pouring into these clubs. Oh - and the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (NLWC) is lapping the field. The NLWC now boasts an endowment north of $5M, which - in “higher education” circles, is a restaurant tip. But for a wrestling club, is about 8x greater than bridesmaid #2 Hawkeye Wrestling Club (HWC).
- What’s genuinely surprising to us isn’t that the NLWC has built a tiny nest egg - everyone already knew that 3 years ago. It’s that, following 20+ year runs of domination, neither Iowa nor Oklahoma State were sitting on anything close to it. How did Dan Gable not leave the HWC with a titanic, Scrooge McDuck sized war chest? His squads won the national championship 9 years in a row, put a ton of guys on Olympic and World teams - and built a $0 endowment. Unfathomable, isn’t it?
- The other intriguing question is this: can that Flo article, and the data residing on the embedded tax forms, usher in a flood of cash to other clubs? Folks with a boatload of cash tend to be competitive. Seeing the NLWC running laps around “your” school - that’s got to get under your skin, doesn’t it? I’m a mere penniless pauper, blogging for a cup of soup. But that would drive me nuts.
- Anyhow - hopefully the competitive drive of folks with disposable cash gets awakened for the sport of wrestling, not only SEC football, and a slew of Monty Burns types pours $100M into clubs nationally.