Last Chance Olympic Qualifier

Sahid Kargbo competed in the last chance Olympic qualifier this past weekend. In order to move on he needed to win, he did not. Nevertheless, I believe it was a valuable weekend for him. He was able to wrestle lots of matches. He learned and will be better due to the experience.

Even though the competition was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, we flew into Chicago and drove the rest of the way. Thus, Sahid was stuck on a plane and a car with me for way too long. In route to Cedar Falls, I took a short detour to Iowa City. I wanted Sahid to see where the final Olympic Trials was going to be wrestled. We were impressed by the warm welcome we received as we toured Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Sahid also had to listen to my many stories about when Minnesota won the 2001 NCAA tournament in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Our hotel was in Waterloo, Iowa so instead of getting his pre-tournament workout at the arena, Sahid worked out at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. We were well taken care of and given a personal tour by Kyle Klingman. Once again, Sahid had to listen to endless stories as Kyle and I reminisced.

Sahid finished with a 3-2 record in the Greco-Roman Tournament. Even though I knew he was disappointed, as soon as he walked off the mat from his last bout, I asked him to check his weight and to consider entering the Freestyle tournament. Sahid checked his weight and told me he thought he could make the weight so he wanted to try. Over the course of the next 2 hours he worked out trying to make the weight class. Due to the international rules Sahid was able to use a sauna to assist his weight loss, so he finished his workout at the historic West Gym facility on the University of Northern Iowa Campus. I was able to share some of the old tricks we used in the old days to help shed the last few pounds. Sahid made the weight. After he was down to weight, he told me 2 hours earlier he was 3.3 kilos over. He did not tell me beforehand because he thought I would not let him try. I was impressed by his toughness.

The next day Sahid finished with a 4-2 record in the Freestyle competition. He beat some quality wrestlers. In one of his losses, his opponent and he got a large crowd of people encircling and watching their match. The tournament featured 26 mats going on at the same time (it was also the site of the age group folkstyle nationals), so it was quite a spectacle they were displaying. The crowd got so close to the mat I was distracted by the buzz. One hall of famer commented to me, during the match, how impressed he was with my wrestler. Sahid represented himself well.

After Sahid was done competing we quickly headed back to Chicago to catch our late night flight back home. About the time we were passing the home of Ulysses S. Grant (yes we stopped to take a picture) we found out our flight was cancelled and that it would be until Tuesday before the airline could get us home. We laughed. Fortunately Tom Carr was able to find a way to get us home the next morning. I am unsure if Sahid could have handled much longer of a trip with just the two of us.

We are approaching the date of our end of the year wrestling banquet. On April 17, we will celebrate the season at the home Jerry and Carol Mullins. If interested in attending, please contact Tom Carr via email at tcarr11@gmu.edu.

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