MARQUETTE – For many Northern Michigan University students, spring break is a time to travel and USOEC athletes are no exception to this tradition. During this year’s break, athletes in the Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling programs trained and competed in Austria, Mexico and Sweden.
Some members of the Greco-Roman team headed east for the Austrian Junior Greco-Roman Open, which was hosted in Gotzis, Austria on March 5. Sophomores Josh Castellano (Wood Dale, Ill.) and Mark Stenberg (Lockport, Ill.) won at 74 kg and 84 kg, respectively. Including the two gold medals captured by USOEC wrestlers, the U.S. team brought home four gold medals.
Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers went to Monterey, Mexico for a training camp Feb. 26-March 5. The trip was headed by freestyle assistant coach Tony DeAnda and Greco-Roman assistant coach Willie Madison. Athletes trained at a large complex, which houses facilities for 15-20 sports year round, including boxing, judo, karate, tae kwon do, fencing and more. In addition to training, athletes were given the opportunity to tour the city of Monterey.
Jenna Burkert (Rocky Point, N.Y.), Schuyler Brown (Montpelier, Va.) and Erin Golston (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) traveled to Sweden. Burkert brought home a bronze medal from the Lady Klippan Open, held at the end of a training camp.
“The athletes learned a lot about wrestling Europeans,” said freestyle head coach Shannyn Gillespie. “It’s important to travel to be prepared for international events.”
Training around the world is an integral part of training to be an Olympic athlete. The ability to see the ways that others train in different states, regions and countries provides valuable knowledge and experience that athletes can then use in their own training and competitions.
“It’s nice to have friendly competition with other countries because it allows our athletes to see various styles and techniques and experience different practice structure, warm ups and training partners,” said Madison. “We also got some much needed sunshine.”