This past weekend we had 6 guys compete in the National Collegiate Open in Richmond. It is great having this event so close to home. I was happy the guys chose to compete. They all wrestled unattached which means they had to do everything on their own. When guys choose to pay their own way and compete when not required you know they are trying to get better. It is a good sign of effort and drive. I was excited one of the guys won his first college match. It was also fun to see some of the guys I use to coach at Minnesota competing at the event.
The CAA championships are on Saturday at Binghamton. Our training is complete. As the old sayings go, “the money is in the bank” or “the hay is in the barn.” The remainder of the week will be geared to rest, recovery, making weight and getting mentally ready to compete. After our dual with Virginia, the guys went through a couple of short training cycles. The intent was to fine tune their technique, supplement their conditioning, and get their intensity level as high as possible. For the most part, things went well.
We have a few guys who could not participate in the entire training cycles due to injuries sustained during earlier competitions and sadly another guy got hurt during the last training cycle. This time of year is always tough as a coach. You want to push the guys and make sure they are ready to go, but you certainly want to make sure they go into the tournament as healthy as possible. I gave a long speech before we started our final push stressing being careful, being good partners, and protecting each other as best we could from injuries. After the speech, I spent the next week worrying about guys not getting hurt. It is hard for me to keep it out of my mind. Nevertheless, in the last workout, one of the guys was hurt. He was hurt in a scramble position I find extremely dangerous. It is a position; I think should be immediately stopped as potentially dangerous in competition. I have seen numerous knee injuries from guys in this position. I told the guys to stop if they were in this position in practice. As luck would have it, during a live go, one of the pairings got in this situation and did not stop. Unfortunately, one of the guys got hurt.
The injury and the timing of the injury are disappointing. The situation is hard on everyone involved. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Being in a combat sport, injuries happen. You just hope they don’t happen when a guy doesn’t have time to recover.
We depart Friday morning for Binghamton, New York. The seeding meeting will be Friday at 4pm. We should know our first round draws by that evening. The school is allowing us to take extra guys to the event. These guys will act as training partners for the starters. I think this will help the starters. I also believe it is beneficial for the training partners to be at the event. It will help them grow as wrestlers and someday as coaches. I am excited the administration is supportive of the growth of the student athletes and helping the starters during the competition.