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Coaches and Leaders,

    I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  Knowing how busy we can all be, I hope you managed to enjoy some family time.  Of course, I hope your life in the Wrestling Room was productive, too.

    When all is said and done, I have a couple of suggestions / reminders, designed to save you some grief.  This week is the right time to ask, “Who got new wrestling shoes for Christmas ?”  Your goal is to eyeball new shoes, just in case they don’t include Velcro or some kind of lace-securing mechanism.  We all get busy and forget to remind kids about these presentation rules.

    It’s also a good New Year tactic to include all those other Grooming and Equipment rules.  Shaving ?  Hair Covers ATTACHED ?  Mouthpieces ?  Tape of Decals on Headgear ?  Fingernails ?  Skin Checks ?

    Taking the few minutes, at least once a month, to include these reminders does something important for each individual and group.  It reminds us that we are a sport of Honor.  Kids take pride in knowing that we pay attention to detail… that the “Little” things really do influence the “Big” things.  The conversation also saves you that crucial point that none of us can afford to lose.

    With that, I need to tell you a combination of two stories that really happened to me, over the last month.  Between the two, I found myself a little confused !  I’ll make it quick and hope you see my point.

    Last week, I had the privilege of being part of a Womens’ Cadet Development Camp, in Tempe.  We had the eighty best High School girls in the country, along with a magic group of developing coaches.  A single message dominated every session:  “Little things matter.  Little things getting done correctly, every time, lead to big results”.

    Obviously, I bought in.  This message fits every idea I’ve ever had about our sport.  Wrestlers take the time to address those little things.  Wrestlers pay attention to detail.  Wrestlers find honor in getting those little things right… every time !

    I doubt I’ve said anything you haven’t experienced, yourself.  I’m sure this is one of the overlying messages all of us hand from generation to generation.

    So… Now, let me share the other part of the story.  At the very beginning of the season, I had occasion to be part of a large high school tournament for men.  I do have to say, the event was NOT inside the borders of my beloved New Mexico.  I won’t say where we were.

    It was a Dual Meet tournament, fourth dual of the day, starting at 126.  One of the Captains attending the pre-match flip, from Team X, proudly displayed a mouth full of braces.  He was their 126 pounder.  After the flip, he returned to his bench, buckled his headgear and reported… No mouthpiece.  The referee followed correct protocol, but I was captivated by his coach’s response, “Has anyone else called it today ?  What’s wrong with this guy ?”

    Two matches later, at 138, the athlete from Team X’s right shoe came untied.  The referee examined the shoe and made it clear to the opposing coach that the shoe DID, in fact, have a velcro enclosure.  And then, we all watched the kid close the velcro first, then tie the laces over the top !  The referee did not penalize, but explained to both athlete and coach the application of the rule about securing laces.  Coach just kinda’ rolled his eyes.

    You would think that the rest of the team would’ve somehow gotten the message.  Oh, no !

Two matches later, here comes the 152 pounder, laces single-tied and dangling… no tape, no velcro, no nothin’.  Does every referee focus on laces ?  No.  But, after the weird incident at 138, this one noticed…  Technical Violation and Injury Time.  Guess who Coach was upset with.

    Not done yet.  160, the very next guy, comes out with identical shoes, equally unsecured !  Coach is positive, now, that it’s a personal assault on him.   They get through 170 and 182.  Still Team X, the 220 is wearing a hair cover.  You guessed it.  Near the end of the first period, his headgear comes off and the hair cover stays on.  The guy’s hair was actually legal length, so he was able to continue, but lost a point and burned injury time.

    Very next match, 220, Team X has a big, good lookin’ football player that probably can become something special.  Problem is, he’s got a full beard.  He definitely should have exhausted injury time and been disqualified, but the referee pretended to ignore the beard.  Can’t say I blame him.  This coach is already ranting and raving about the guy applying the rules.  Cut your losses !

    So, you see the source of my confusion.  I know all of us stay busy, early in the season, teaching technique at warp speed.  I’m never gonna’ tell you I agree with every rule, as written.  But, then we swell up and brag about getting “Little “ things right, about focusing on detail, about honor.

    Here’s a referee taking a attitude and soft verbal abuse for applying the rules in an equitable fashion.  Here’s a coach willing to inflict that abuse, and worse, teach his kids that everything’s the referee’s fault, when he was the one too negligent to instruct properly.

    As hard as it is to believe, that story really happened, exactly as I reported it !  I get that it’s 2018.  We and our athletes are part of a unique generation and it impacts our sport.  Dear friends, if we don’t stand for what’s right, attend to those details, and let our kids face appropriate consequences, our sport and way of life could suffer permanent damage.  Please do your part.   

    I wish you well, as you enter the heart of our season.  I’ll touch base before championship time.  As always, I’m happy to track down answers, should you have questions.

    On a personal note, one of our Brothers is fighting a very tough battle.  Please keep Coach Mike Duroe in your thoughts and prayers.








            I hope this finds you well… and excited for our upcoming scholastic season.  I’m sure you had your chance to celebrate the success our World Teams had, during the last month.  Our Schoolboys / girls, Cadets, Juniors and Seniors have given us a great start to the Tokyo quadrennium !  I want to say a big THANK YOU to the New Mexico Few who spend time, money and effort, every spring and summer, to fuel this fire !

            We kick off our 2018 campaign with the NMHSCA / NMAA Coaches’ and Officials’ Clinic, October 20 – 21.  What a great deal this has become for New Mexico Wrestling !  Don’t forget to say a personal ‘Thank You’ to Buster Mabry, Scott Owen and Dana Pappas for taking the organizational risk to Make This Happen.

            As we prepare for the Clinic, I’m offering some topics that may be of interest.  I’ll comment, ever-so-briefly, here.  You can pick your own poison and follow up, formally (in the large group), informally (with your trusted few), or both.  My list is certainly not complete.  It seeks to identify a few of the ‘Main’ issues that seem to concern the most of us.  Please don’t hesitate to offer your own ideas to either Coach Owen of myself, as the clinic approaches.

  • Optional Two-Piece Uniform:  Long overdue, this has the potential to breathe new life into scholastic wrestling.  My only word of advice is to look for the words, NFHS APPROVED, before you buy.  Ask your vendor, before you commit !  This has significant budget implications.  Whether it be your AD, Boosters, or Fund-Raising, do your homework BEFORE you spend money.
  • Back Points and Falls Out of Bounds:  Go SLOW, as we all adjust to this !  Personally, I would not change anything about coaching kids to ‘Keep Him / Her In’.  In the end, this will be and OK rule adaptation.  That said, we all know it will be testy to learn.  We compete is a pretty wide variety of environments, especially in tournaments.  At times, lack of Protection Area, alters the range within which the referees can operate.  Officials:  Keep Safety First.  Coaches:  Don’t begrudge a referee that Keeps Safety First.
  • Little Kids Wrestling:  There are some significant changes that promise to be a very positive impact for ALL New Mexico Wrestling.  Those responsible deserve your appreciation.  Many of the changes are pointed at validating YOU, the High School Head Coach, as the CEO for Wrestling Operations, within your population area.  Step Up to the Challenge !
  • Womens’ Wrestling at Santa Ana:  Many of you have waited a long time to hear this:  There will be EIGHT BRACKETS, specifically for High School Eligible Women, contested during the NMAA State Championship in February.  Find a way to THANK NMAA Leadership for making a bold decision to do a ‘Right’ Thing !  This is going to take some work… and we’ll grow into it.  I will be your primary point of contact for the Womens’ portion of the event.  I will remain open to your ideas, but will also remain responsible to the leadership creating the opportunity.
  • New Mexico Wrestling Hall of Fame:  This group is another that continues to make strides in doing what is ‘Right’ for all the contributors in our sport.  As the effort continues to blossom, you will be called upon to ‘Do Your Part’.  You are the primary spokesperson for your entire community.  Don’t miss a chance to Make A Difference !

Again, please Speak Up, if I’m missing something that deserves to be on our plate, at the upcoming Clinic.  Feel free to contact me, directly:

If you prefer, contact Scott Owen at NMAA.  Trust me…  Coach Owen IS our voice !

I REALLY look forward to visiting with all New Mexico High School Coaches, during the October Clinic.  You guys and gals do So Much for our kids. 



September 4th, 2017

RE:    Upcoming Wrestling Season - Announcement

To:    NMJW / NM Wrestling - USA / New Mexico Wrestling Community

First, I would like to invite and welcome all New Mexico Wrestlers, Parents, Coaches, Officials and Supporters to the upcoming season of 2017-2018.  The season promises to be successful with many NM Wrestling Coaches and Parents coming together.  We hope this is a sign of added success and support of our sport in our great State of New Mexico.

Upcoming events:

New Mexico Junior Wrestling Kickoff Meeting

    Sunday September 10, 2017 @ 11 am @ Manzano High School

New Mexico Wrestling - USA Planning Meeting

    Sunday September 24, 2017 @ 2 pm @ 1512 Coors SW

These meetings are open to all and all are welcome to attend and provide input on the upcoming season.

Next an important announcement for the New Mexico Wrestling Community.

NMJW and NM Wrestling - USA boards have voted to start the effort and re-organization to become ONE organization.  This upcoming season will start with the two organizations working together as they have done in the past.  Once details and required IRS and NM State filings are completed the two organizations will merge into one and the resulting organization will have one board made up of the two organizations…working together to further Wrestling in our State.  This is a positive step to bringing the Wresting Community of NM together.  More details to follow.

We hope to see everyone at our upcoming organizational meetings.


Loren Vigil                               Andrew Fowner Jr.

NM Wrestling - USA                NMJW

Director                                    President





Coaches and Leaders,

​I hope you’re celebrating the success our Junior World Team had.  Is the Southern Plains Kickin’ Ass… or what ?  Get pumped for some great results from Paris, and then from our Cadets in Athens !

​This update focusses on your input to the State Leaders at their recent Colorado Springs Summit, as well as the decisions they forwarded up the food chain, to the JOWC and, ultimately, the Board of Directors.

​I have to tell you, they’re already calling this the “FARGO Summit” !  I think it’s fair to say, there was some interesting, often heated, debate, regarding several of the ‘Jigsaw Puzzle’ pieces that define our premier event.  I applaud the contributors and the debate.  I have some deep concerns with some of the outcomes.  But, that’s for me and my State Chair.  Please make the most of your own Chain of Command !

​First, your input.  With the help of Tony Black, USAW State Services Director, we distributed a Survey Monkey instrument to a total of 780 Coaches, registered in Fargo.  We got timely responses from 280 (that’s 36 per cent).  That number gave us ‘Validity’, which is important.  We are encouraging all stakeholders to work at making their decisions Data based, rather than Emotion based.

​Please see, next, the bar-graph results of the instrument.  NOTE:  If the graphics are too small, adjust your VIEW to 200%.  Please also note, I am NOT computer magician enough to combine several snips on a single page.  Apologies !  Please scroll through several pages.

​Thank You ! to the 280 Coaches who took the time to fuel the fire.  We’re about to take a look at the outcomes of all the discussion in Colorado Springs.  In some cases, let me advise:  Pour yourself a drink;  Go to the room that does not have very many sharp things; Sit down;  Hit the drink, pretty hard, at least once; Breathe; Remember NOT to PANIC.  Everything will be OK !

​Seriously… What I’m presenting you are the large generalizations that came from the State Chairs.  None of the Details are fixed.  We have experts, in our Events and State Services departments, that really DO care about your kids ! Ready ?

*In 2018, we will wrestle Freestyle Men First, Greco Last

         *In 2018, the Womens' Duals will NOT be contested in Fargo (During the same event as the individual tournaments)

         *In 2018, the First Weigh in, for Each Style / Age Group, will, OPTIMALLY, take place the evening before their competition begins

         *In 2018, All Matches in the Championship Bracket and Medal Matches will consist of Two THREE-MINUTE periods

         *In 2018, All Non-Medal Matches in the Consolation Bracket will consist of Two          TWO-MINUTE periods

​OK… one more sip !  We’ll be OK !  I know there are some points that will make you happy, and some that will have you scratchin’ your noggin.  We’ll be OK !  Give our Staff time to process these decisions and present us with a plan… probably late winter / early spring.  

​Enjoy the Seniors and the Cadets.  If you want to Wrestle on the Beach, in Turkey, in October… Call me !   

​If you have kids in the room, just make your Magic.  Get them ready for the Folkstyle Season.  We’ll be OK.  (That’s three times I’ve said that).

Get some rest, we have things to do !  I really appreciate what you do for kids.










Coaches and Leaders,

​Congratulations, and Thanx, for your contribution to the “Fargo” experience !  Whether you were there, or contributed along the way to getting a kid there, your efforts are noticed and appreciated.

​By my count, the Southern Plains produced One Hundred and Eleven All-Americans in 2017.  I hope more important, is that we represented our region with dignity and class.  All our kids were competitive and honest.  All our coaches were engaged and professional.  It’s a treat to be part of a “Class Act” region.   Thanx !

​This is the week to TAKE CARE OF YOU !  As you get to know your family again, and regrow a personality, be aware of the neurological and chemical stress you just exposed your body to.  Hit the fruit juices, the Airborne, the B and D vitamins, a little extra for a while.  Get a nap, when you can.  Your immune system got totally dependent on the Cortisol flow, last week.  Now that it’s drying up, don’t let yourself get sick !



​If you were in Fargo, expect an email, soon, inviting you to participate in a Six-Question Survey Monkey instrument.  Make it your business to respond !

​Whether or not you were in Fargo, touch base with your State Chair.  They are getting ready for the Summit, in Colorado Springs.  Don’t beat ‘em up with little, Ticky-Tack things.      DO communicate your vision of the next decade in how USAW designs, offers and executes our Age-Group competition.

​Mike Juby asked ALL State Chairs, and Zac Dominguez asked ALL Coaches, to make a concerted effort to get Coach Representation from your state to the Summit.  Things are cookin’.  Your voice is being given the value it deserves.  Don’t shy away from the responsibility !

​A second note, regarding the Summit:  Ed Duncan (North Carolina), Chairman of USAW’s Associated Styles Committee, will be hosting a Break Out Session.  Your State Representatives can bring home information about Grappling, Beach Wrestling, and other Traditional Styles on the United World Wrestling menu.  Many of these styles are popular niche markets, in the United States.  As such, they deserve our attention.



​Over the last two years, it has become clear that nothing lasts forever.  Answering the needs of USAW’s membership base is a constantly evolving process.  We’ve been pretty lucky, over the last 20 years.  What we have been offering has suited the needs of all stake-holders, pretty well.

​Each stake-holder group has identified some need for new direction, as we prepare for the quadrennia of 2024, 2028, 2032.  After listening to each other, carefully, in the various Council meetings, we all know how interdependent each component of our current paradigm has become.

That said, the consensus seems to be that our work must be Proactive, rather than Reactive.  If we go about business, trying to ‘Fix’ some broken piece, the stress will break five more pieces !  We cannot build the future without maintaining the successful parts of our present.

It seems our best shot at being productive is to adopt sound business principles.  If we get our best minds, representing each stake-holder group, in the same room, we can create a Vision of what USAW’s menu of Age-Group competition will look like in the 2020’s.  Our Mission then becomes designing the right ‘Machine’ parts that fit together to make the Vision our new reality.

Don’tcha love it, when I go all philosophical on you ?  But, seriously… you are the people in the Room, with the Kids ! What you think matters !  When you hatch an idea, take it to your small group of trusted friends.  As it takes shape, present it to your State Organization.  Your State Chair will work with others in the Southern Plains and, eventually, with the National group.

Keep an open mind.  Work to see the ‘Bigger’ picture.  Identify places where we can compromise, as well as those few ‘Hills’ we need to die on.

I am confident that our National Staff is behind us, in this effort.  We have to remember that we really are a Volunteer Based, Not For Profit, entity.  As such, our National Staff can only implement what we design.  We have to fuel their professional expertise with our ideas and the needs of our clients… the Athletes.


Think on this.  I’ll touch base again, after the Summit (August 10-12).




JULY 2017






Coaches and Leaders,


I hope you and your family had a safe, mindful and happy Independence Day.  I know all are in the middle of, or have recently finished Intensive Camps, in preparation for Fargo.

​Congratulations, and Thanx, for your part in June’s National Duals competition.  Special Thanx to the Oklahoma and Tulsa organizing committees, for their presentation of the Junior Duals.  It’s been a long time since we saw the type of Athlete Friendly, Volunteer Appreciating, Good Old FashionedHospitality Tulsa provided.  It’s nice to see the enthusiasm of youth and the experience of “Experience” work together to Get It Right.

​USAW is just finishing our premier training camp for our age-group elite.  It’s called 2024 Camp, and runs alongside our first Senior Preparation Camp for Paris.  Coach Hagerty, Missouri, has taken one of the lead positions in these camps.  Coach Hagerty picked my brain, about a few officiating issues, for presentation during the camps.  I’ve included my comments for you to pick through, as you prepare for Fargo.

​Please realize that my comments belong to me and don’t represent any group of published position.  Read with a critical eye and form your own conclusions.  My purpose is to help us all create more well-rounded, thoughtful athletes… nothing else.  I’ll offer the same comments to anyone, nation-wide, that asks.  If you like the ideas presented, feel free to incorporate them.  If not, fell free to trash them.



​As mentioned in my June update, please Take Every Reasonable Action to protect your kids, as they arrive at weigh ins in Fargo.  Communication with Kid and Parent is vital.



​Please find time for these important opportunities to contribute to the Greater Good of our Profession, while we’re in Fargo !  We start with Free Food, at the Coaches Burger Bash, SUNDAY AFTERNOON, 4:30, upstairs, in the Dome.  MONDAY NIGHT AT 8:00, we have our first full National Coaches Council Meeting, IN THE TEAM ROOM, downstairs, behind the competition floor.  Your attendance and opinion matters !  Our second Council Meeting is WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 7:00.  This should suit our Greco Coaches, just getting in.

​I’ll be on the floor, all day, every day.  Please feel free to pull me off to the side, if you have an idea or issue.








​One answer…  our elite athletes and their coaches must continue to update their lists of “Things I can Control” and “Things I can’t”.


​For this conversation, we need to think Toughest Scenario…  we’re matched against the second best competitor in our particular universe, and it’s going to be close.  We know that, to take our opponent out of contention, we need to be six points ahead.  Against a quality opponent, this is not likely.  So, our opponent will stay in it.  Good for them.  Good for us.  Attack responsibly.


​The officiating team is a bit more pesky.  The good news is, we only need a three point lead to take them out of the equation.  To do so, we have to manage Time, we have to manage Space, we have to manage Contact.



​We don’t get to pick our referee.  We can’t dictate their experience at this level.  We can’t choose who Judges and Chairs the match with them.  We can’t control the “Points of Emphasis” they heard in the two hour meeting they were in, last night, nor the half hour meeting they had this morning.  We can’t control the perspective they use to interact with what they think they heard.  We can’t control their fatigue, nor the stress they have dealt with over the last several hours.  We cannot control whatever promotion, demotion, reward, assignment, appreciation they feel like they have at stake.



​Just when we got used to the idea that stepping out costs a point, the whistle slowed down and options were considered.  Our answer has to be, WRESTLE THROUGH THE EDGE, not just TO it.  Referees are being instructed to “Hold the Whistle” for an attack to be completed.  “Completed” is in the eyes of the beholder.   Do NOT stop competing until the whistle has blown.  

​MY SHOT, MY OFFENSE:  Stay Greedy !  If my opponent has stepped out, I THINK I’m assured ONE point.  Capitalize on the delayed whistle.  Let’s snag TWO, maybe FOUR, because our opponents quit early.

​YOUR SHOT, MY DEFENSE:  Stay Greedy !  If I have stepped out, I must now limit my loss to ONE.  Make the same fight you would in the center.  Stuff head, fight hands, deny hips.  We cannot quit early, then have our opponent LOOK LIKE they finished.







​Again, for the sake of argument, we’re going to play out a 0-0 match, in which the officiating crew will basically decide who wins.  Under the current rules, if the athletes are not scoring, the officiating team must.  A match with no offensive, technical score, no caution, no step out, will end 2-1.  At the end of a minute two minutes, twenty seconds, it’ll be 1-0.  Going into the second period, around 4:15, it’ll be 1-1.  Before we get to 5:20, it’ll be 2-1.  That’s how it’ll finish, if there’s not a Fleeing the Hold Call. 

​We simply cannot care who gets put on the Activity Period Clock first.  I might have an opponent making me look bad.  I might get lucky.  The officials might just guess.  

​If I’m on the clock, I need to stay within myself and manage my offense.  Nothing crazy.  If my opponent is on the clock, I need to stay in bounds and capitalize on any error.  

​It’s the thirty seconds after the first Activity Period that make a big difference.  I’ve got to either score, before the end of the first period, or make my opponent eat a first warning.  I need them on the clock, as early as possible, in the second period.

​But, be careful what we wish for !  Things went well.  It’s 1-1, at 4:20 and I scored last.  Now, I have to manage over a minute and a half, knowing that the referee needs the final score to be 2-1.  Pace is everything now.  I have to stay in the center and either attack or create the illusion of attack.  If I don’t, guess “Who’s Turn” it is to go on the clock.



​What we know is that every referees’ clinic is preaching, “Make ‘em wrestle in bounds”.

Does it matter where the attack began ?  Yeah, kinda’.  Does it matter who’s ahead ?  Yeah, kinda’.  Does it matter how we went out ? Yeah, kinda’.  Will they, maybe, just guess, because of the pressure of whoever is watching ?  Good chance !

​We have to defend shots with our butt to the center.  Gotta’ be able to get off our opponent’s corner and dictate direction.  And… in that weirdest of possible scenario, we have to take what the rule gives.  Today, it’s better to give up TWO, thanTWO and A CAUTION.

​So, we eat a bad call.  What now ?  We better have some pretty good experience with time management, a Plan A and A plan B.  If we let ourselves be blindsided, shame on us !


​Maybe, the call of the year… or not-call.  All of us know that our viewing audience, whether in the seats or on TV, do NOT want to watch matches end ugly.  They heard the commentators brag that we are a sport of constant risk.  If you don’t have a well-rehearsed plan of staying in contact, in the center, and being willing to brawl, you really deserve whatever you get.

​Don’t act surprised that officiating teams are highly sensitized to Fleeing, in a One Point nut-cutter, inside forty seconds.  Know the difference in the commands you hear.  If the referee is saying the words “ACTION” or “ATTACK”, they are working on setting up a Passivity Call.  When the command changes to the word, “CONTACT”, they’re setting up a Fleeing the Hold Call.  If they stop the match and warn you, anywhere over 15-20 seconds, they ARE coming after the call.  ADJUST !

​Redefine your “Bread and Butter”, your “Go To” attack.  Can you penetrate a Single, and not get tilted, lifted, or gator rolled for two ?  Can you go double unders and not get thrown ? Can you pull down a Two On One and dominate the center of the mat ?  Just know that the world takes a dim view of you skating backwards, pumping your victorious fists in the air.  Ask the Mongolian !



​We are not a meat-head circus act !  We are some of the most brilliant tacticians in any athletic endeavor ever known to mankind !  Much of any wrestler’s success is based on PSYCHOLOGICAL conditioning.  Just like PHYSICAL conditioning, we have to take ourselves past exhaustion, and then perform at our peak.

​With the help of your coaches, design ways to attack, protect, appear, disappear, stay with the plan, panic productively.  Make all of these psychological skills a part of every workout… just like you make your cardio stress part of very work out.  Overcome bad calls and admit when you get lucky.

​Tax every rule. Do not be taxed by any rule.  Make them all work for you. Don’t consciously allow any to ever work against you.  Find ways to control your environment, ethically.  It’s what we do.



THAT’S IT.  Travel Safely !  I look forward to sharing some great experiences in Fargo.  Thanx for all you do !




BIG Thank You

Coach Benavidez, Wife and family for at great camp.

Your hospitality and food was amazing.

Also, thank you to Coach Martinez, the Bettermans, and Bill Zadick for running a great camp.

JUNE, 2017





Coaches and Leaders,

​Just a quick note, as we head into the Freestyle World Team Trials.  This might be the SECOND most exciting weekend in June.

​The FIRST, of course, was our Southern Plains Championship, last weekend.  What a magnificent display ! Many of the athletes we saw seem like good bets for a place on a podium, later this summer.

​Thanks, as always, to USAW – Kansas for another first-class event.  Your hospitality is icing on the cake.  Thanks to the countless volunteers that make an event like this happen.

​Congratulations to the volunteer Officials, both from the Region and from outside.  I hope all Southern Plains constituents realize how lucky we are to have a large population of quality referees, dedicated to a better experience for our kids.

​As for the wrestling itself, and the rules we are operating under, things are better than good !  When you think that, just a few years ago, our rules were a constant battle, it’s a joy to see things so right.  My favorite match of the Freestyle event… Juniors… ended 21 – 21.  Both athletes has a Five Point Throw.  Both had TWO Four Pointers.  It came down to Last Points Scored… right at the buzzer.  WOW !

​At the request of some of our Coaches, I’m watching very carefully, the impact of the Two-Point award for Correct Technique.  We got to see it, in Vegas.  We’ve had it in effect for our local and state events.  We got to use it in Dodge City.  Let’s see what we get, in Lincoln.  I’ll get you some feedback, prior to Fargo.

​Speaking of Fargo…  I want to get out in front of an issue, as we all plan and prepare our Intensive Training Camps for our feature event.  Contagious Skin Disorders are a bigger deal than some give credit !

​Over the last 20 years, I’ve made it my business to represent our National Coaches’ Council at Weigh Ins.  My purpose is to act as intermediary between Coach and Medical Staff in a very traumatic situation, making sure everyone’s rights and responsibilities are respected.  When a kid gets told they can’t compete, after all the blood, sweat, tears, and dollars, it’s devastating !

​So, let me urge camp organizers to be proactive in this area.  You need Coaches assigned to thorough skin-checks, perhaps even TWICE a day.  You need access to a physician… one that has some kind of clue about wrestling, and about the specific skins disorders we see.  Someone, at the camp, needs to get DrBJ Anderson’s APP on their smart-phone.  That APP is “The Mat Doc”.


If you know you have kids with prior outbreaks of Herpes Gladiatorum, get ‘em started on a prophylactic regimen of Valtrex.  There is plenty of literature, by Dr Anderson among others, to support this prevention.  We know that Herpes loves some good stress.  The psychological and physical demands associated with Fargo are prime opportunities for an outbreak.

​We know that many of our athletes have been at the Duals, and / or other camps, clinics, events.  They’ve been exposed to physical contact with any bug from any place.  There’s no such thing as “Too Careful”, when it comes to taking care of mats, laundering work out gear, keeping wrestling shoes on mats (and nowhere else).

​Make hygiene a part of every team meeting, every end of practice, and all your parent communications.  Information really is power.  We don’t need our kids freaked by fear.  We need them informed and mindful.

​I’ll harp on this, once more, between the Freestyle Trials and Fargo.  It will, likely, coincide with the upcoming National Duals.  Until then, take care of yourself, too.  We have some stress coming our ways, during the next several weeks.  Do what it takes to support your immune system.

​Before I go, CONGRATULATIONS to two of our own from the Southern Plains.  Arkansas’ Greg hatcher and Missouri’s Mike Hagerty, and Texas’ Andre Metzger were inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, last Saturday.  Dayton Fix, of Oklahoma was presented the 2017 Dave Schultz Award.  Honors well deserved !


And Happy Fathers’ Day !!!


MAY, 2017




Coaches and Leaders,

            The National Open, and all its sub-events, was a success.  The Southern Plains was well represented by quality athletes, coaches and referees at all levels.  Congratulations and Thanx to all !

            As we prepare for our Regional Championship, a month from this weekend, I have a couple of things I’d like you to consider.  The first relates to a recent, and significant, success for one of our own.  USA Wrestling recently announced that Missouri’s Gary Mayabb will become its new Manager of Greco-Roman Programs. 

            Coach Mayabb is off and running.  One of his immediate goals is to institute a series of Greco-specific clinics, for Developing Athletes and Pool Coaching Candidates, at the Regional level.  It makes sense to test the waters, close to home.

            This puts the Southern Plains in a position to lead the way, once again.  Take a look at your calendars, and let’s begin a discussion at our meeting, in Dodge City.  The ideal dates for this Pilot Clinic would be from the lat weekend of April to the second weekend of May, in 2018.

            In addition to looking at dates, we need to consider our most central, and affordable location.  The clinic / camp wants to host up to 140 high school aged athletes and 21 of our up-and-coming pool coaches.  That translates to 20 athletes and 3 coaches per state, throughout our region.

            As I said, think on this.  Kick it around with the clubs in your area.  Bring your innovations, as well as your reservations to Dodge City.  We will forward your information to Coach Mayabb, and get the ball rolling.

            My second, and last, comment, this month, relates to a comment / question recently asked of me.  It really fired me up !  Someone, a person kinda’ up there in the wrestling world, asked me, “Why does the Southern Plains stack its Regional Championship on top of the University and UWW Cadets event ?”  I went off !

            Truth is, our Region has maintained OUR weekend of choice for a generation.  Sometime, late 80’s or early 90’s, we bumped back from mid-June to the first weekend.  This move was to accommodate the growth of the National Junior and Cadet Duals.  The Schoolboy / girl duals were added, not long after.

            So, I made it clear to my question-asker, the Southern Plains Championship has been Stacked Upon, not the other way around.  I had to add what we all know, down deep inside.  In our organization’s efforts to maintain market share versus our entrepreneur ‘Friends’, we have scheduled more events than can be reasonable for any of our role players !

            This reality, on the business side of our sport leadership, makes it even more incumbent upon us, as coaches, to make sound, strategic decisions about where and how much our kids compete.  We have kids, in the Southern Plains, who really need to compete at the UWW Cadet Trials… but not many.  We have kids, in every state, that are profiting from competing at our local events, but are not ready to compete out-of state.  We have kids that REALLY need to test themselves in Fargo.  We have kids that need to experience the grind of the Duals.

            Not all of our kids need to be at all of our events.  It seems likely that managing their exposure to competitive stress will positively impact, and lengthen, each career.  I’m not trying to throw water on anyone’s competitive fire.  Still we have to admit that More is Not necessarily Better.

            So… Round up your few, your elite, and send  ‘em to Akron to make a World Team.  Let your newbies, and your wannabees, stay home and dream of traveling next year.  Round up every able competitor, coach and referee… and put ‘em on the bus to Dodge City.

            Have a great month.  See you there.



Last Minute Addendum:

            You’ve seen the article !  NFHS has APPROVED alternative Two Piece Uniform for 2017-2018.  This might have impact on your ORDERING for next year.  Make the discussion with your Athletic Director ASAP.     RD

APRIL, 2017




Coaches and Leaders,

            It’s only been a couple of weeks.  Still, with the Open and Western Juniors coming up in Vegas, I need to get you some stuff.

We had our National Coaches’ Council conference call meeting on April 6th.  There’s some info you need, from that call.

Everyone has kicked off their Local Tournament Season, within our states.  I want to get you some observations and hope they might be of some use.

First, Our Conference Call:

       We got to listen to Coaches Lindland and Zadick update us on a very successful Winter Tour Season.  Coach Lindland asks that that we spread the word, on the Greco-Roman Culture’s specific website

            He also emphasized how many opportunities are being developed for Greco specific athletes.  If anyone has a kid who wants to specialize, right out of high school, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Coach Lindland.

            Matt also talked about our senior team’s more aggressive offensive philosophy.  We want to push the pace and score early, rather than hanging out and making a costly error, too late to come back from.  This philosophy is much more effective, if we emphasize attack with our age group athletes.

            Coach Zadick was excited about rule change. Adding the opportunity for a Five point technique can only help Freestyle.  One big thing in it, for us, is the simplicity of having the same technical scoring in both Olympic styles.

            All Cautions are accompanied by TWO points, now.  We’ve got to drive home this philosophical difference between Olympic wrestling and American Folkstyle.  We can’t have a kid “Run” and Celebrate, in the last few seconds.  They risk giving up TWO, even in the last few seconds.  Stay engaged !

            Good News !  UWW is going back to 10 weight classes, per style, in non-Olympic Championships.  The 10 number will hold true for ALL age groups that have a Continental or World Championship.

            UWW is also adding a U-23 World Championship, Poland… Thanksgiving weekend.  USAW events staff is working to adapt what we’ve known as ‘University Nationals’, to meet this need.  Look for U-23 World Team Trials in early October.

What Local Tournaments Offer:

       I hear, from time to time, that the local tournament is a dinosaur… a thing of the past.  With all our favorite wrestling entrepreneurs out there, selling trophies larger than the kid, for this weekend’s Championship of the Galaxy, it’s often tough to draw a lot of kids to the local tournament across town, or in a small town.

            I still think there’s a ‘Big Buck’ to be had by every kid whose family does support that local event.  And, I believe we provide every kid… our best and our worst… with opportunity to grow their personal base.

            The local tournament lets all of us focus on PROCESS, not Product.  This key element of the periodization process is a must have, for every role in our sport. 

            Everyone involved: athletes; parents; coaches; referees just finished a heated competitive season, less than sixty days ago.  We have another one beginning soon, with Regional and National competition looming.

            The local tournament season, from March through May, allows all of us that time for reflection, goal-setting, and personal growth as a whole person.   Here are a couple of examples of what I’m after.

            The Mis-Match.  Your legitimate kid… state placer as a Sophomore light-weight, draws up against that rolly-polly eighth grader, whose biggest dream is hair in his armpits.  Actually, it doesn’t matter which kid is yours.  They’re both supposed to profit from the experience. 

            I actually refereed this match, last weekend.  Both kids did a great job !  The not-so-good youngster took some honest shots and tried a throw.  The pretty good kid made it clear that he was wrestling the position, not the opponent.  Win-Win !  Well coached !  Kids that are growing into capable humans !

            Coaching Restrictions.  There’s not a one of us that isn’t purely amazed at the ignorance of many State High School Associations’ Coaching Limitations.  Here we are, in a combative sport, using extremely sport specific equipment and technique.  And, the only person within a country mile who is qualified to supervise the activity safely, ISN’T ALLOWED TO !

            My hat’s off to those few who run their workouts within their state parameters, then show up at the local event and do what needs to get done.  They pair brackets, referee matches, mop mats, and sell burritos.  But, you know what ?  They’re present.  They get a chance to observe their kids, albeit from a distance.  They help other peoples’ kids, which teaches their own to honor the fight.  Do you suppose it’s a secret that these are the guys who are coaching the teams and clubs that do well, both winter and

summer ?

Creative Officiating.  This might be to our younger, up-and-coming referees.  It might be to our Old Dogs.  I hope it hits home with both.  In the local tournament, there’s a very fine line between refereeing and coaching basic Best Practices, to kids from our own states.

I can’t tell you how many times, a week, I’m stopping that ‘Cement Mixer’, ‘Twister’, junk-move off a front head-lock.  I break it after the first turn.  From par terre, it’s that side head lock.  I break it, as soon as it gets hooked up.

You know, and I know, we’re not gonna’ beat good kids with junk moves.  Referees can help athletes, psychologically, by giving just a little extra time to develop sound technique and quick-whistling junk moves.

The athletes (and coaches) that are leaning on garbage moves are, clearly, addicted to the Product, not the PROCESS.  Sell ‘em a medal, at the concession stand, and devote your energy to the kids that are struggling to do it the right way. 

All that said, I look forward to Regional competition.  Our kids get to test themselves against your kids.  Our brightest young coaches get to study With, and Against, yours.  Our Region’s officials get the practice they need to make a mark, nationally.

Thanx for your part, in all of this.  Good luck to your kids.









Coaches and Leaders,


            If you haven’t heard, or told, stories of the D1 Championship in St Louis… it might be time to buy a ball !  Everything about this year’s tournament makes us say, “Wow” !

            St Louis represented our Southern Plains, again, with a first class event.  Thanx to the hundreds of volunteers that put it all together. 

            Our Southern Plains Athletes earned a lot of success, representing schools is all parts of the country.  Thanx, and Congrats, to their families, coaches, and the work out partners that got ‘em there.

            USA Wrestling was the central focus of the Fan-Fest, as usual.  Our organization’s display’s featured speakers, not to mention the fabulous workout sessions, make us all proud.  USAW’s presence was the true definition of “Something for Everyone”.  Congrats to our leaders and staff.

            A new Foundation, the USWF (figure it out), offered a wonderful introduction to their vision of supporting our sport and our athletes.  Make yourself aware of the Foundation’s aims and purpose.

            And, as for the tournament, you gotta’ start with the Finals and work backwards.  We’ll tell stories, for years, about Penn State’s running the table.  Amazing !  I want to study that, in a few minutes.  But, I was impressed by the outcomes of our Southern Plains schools, as well.  Mizzou put three in the finals !  Oklahoma State capitalized on depth, in the back side.  OU shows great promise, under Coach Lou.  Northern Colorado and Coach Nickerson are making a mark. 

            All these programs are fueled by Southern Plains kids, and that goes back to you.  There are, obviously, great kids from every region.  But, we’re holding our own… and gaining on ‘em.

            By the way, the Southern Plains was well represented in the Refereeing Crew, too.  All of these referees are Home-Grown, Southern Plains guys.  They’re sharp. They’re professional.  They give us one more thing to be proud of and say THANX for.  Good job, guys !



            I want to discuss the mystique of the NCAA finals, a little more.  But, it needs to wait a few minutes.  There are a couple of business items that need your attention, first.

            We have received notification from UWW, via USAW, that some “Rule Changes” are on the horizon.  I’m careful how I present that.  Most of us lived through the traumatic events, in the first decade of the century.  We get a little freaked, whenever we hear the words, “Rule Changes”.

            Don’t be freaked !  Everything’s OK… Promise !  What we received are PROPOSALS for 2018.  They are well-thought-out.  They are GOOD for wrestling.  There IS a PLAN.  Here’s a summary of the proposals:

-  Increase the number of the Senior weight categories

-  Change the weight categories in all age categories

-  Team and individual rankings – creation of top seeds

-  Competition format

-  Doping violation

-  Equipment used in UWW Championships


            I did send you the most recent USA modifications to the International Rules, in my last update.  Other than those, everything is PREDICTABLE for 2017.  Coach your kids not to worry about rules !


            We were recently notified of a Conference Call Meeting of the National Council, coming up April 6th.  If ANYTHING is burning, or itching, or keeping you awake… Please LET ME KNOW.  It’s my job to carry your voice forward.  Let me earn these Big Bucks !



            I’m not the only one who noticed.   Every individual, regardless of role, representing Penn State in an interview setting, said the same word at some point:  Fun.

            This word, one that used to be so simple, has become very complicated… hard to define.  I hear, more frequently than I want to, about how hard it is to coach the “Modern American Kid”.  Everybody’s got to have an ego massage, before practice is over.  Every participant gets a trophy.  You and I are an integral part of Mom and Dad’s couples therapy.

            So, Good for Coach Cael, for packaging the concept of Fun in the most competitive environment !  Now, don’t take me wrong.  If I were in the room with Coach Cael’s Staff, I’d look a lot smarter than I really am.  If I were in the room with Coach Cael’s Kids, I’d look brilliant.  But, not as brilliant as Coach Cael !

            This wonderful human has harnessed a concept that most of us take for granted.  FUN is a big part of what we have to offer to today’s youth… tomorrow’s Olympic Champions.

            Coach Cael, like many of us, lived through a time in his career when the words wrestling and fun were not synonymous.  But, if you remember him, snapping his fingers, out of bounds, in the final seconds of his Olympic Championship… Coach Cael had definitely rediscovered fun.

            We all love to promote our sport, with focus on work ethic and self-determination.  Parents like to hear about wrestling’s values.  Kids like to know that, “Not everyone can do this”.  Yet, we find ourselves often frustrated, trying to understand these complicated 21st Century kids !

            I’m not sure if ‘Incorporating Fun’ into our philosophy of the sport is as simple as just saying the word more often, or if it requires us to re-invent the wheel.  I suspect, the answer is somewhere in between.

            I do think that Penn State’s focus on the word, fun, throughout their stunning success, invites us to think a little more deeply about our own philosophy and approach to the modern kids in our room.  We have all taken pride in our creativity, when it comes to drilling and technique.  We should be able to adapt the notion of fun into the work that’s paying off.

            Please don’t think I’ve gone all namby-pamby in my respect for sweat and pain.  I’m still a big fan of the Grind Match !  When I think about the scraps that go on, especially in the upper weights, in Penn State’s room, ‘Fun’ is not the first adjective I apply.

            But, then again…  I know I would have Fun being anywhere close to it.  Our kids, in their thumb-driven, watch it live on social media, world, are open to us using the word ‘Fun’ to describe the intensity.

            I know that Coach Clayton, in our Coach Education Program, is conscious of the need to define wrestling as ‘Fun’.  The current international literature, regarding wrestling development and pedagogy, spends much of its focus on the notion of ‘Fun’ in developing athletes.

            So, please, grind on this for awhile.  Share your ideas with the guy / gal down the road, with us in the region, with the coaches you trust, nationally and/or internationally.  Together, I think we can give Coach Cael the ultimate compliment in coaching… Steal his idea and make it ours !


            Be well.  I’ll work at getting you a shorter update, after next week’s meeting and before Vegas.







Weight Class







Marcus Santillanes-Volcano Vista






Mark Gonzales-Sandia






Michael Mascarenas-Cleveland






Noah Mirabel-Cleveland






Sam Martinez-Santa Fe






Jose Tapia- Capital






Nick Rino- Piedra Vista






Ryan Rochford- Rio Rancho






Orion Gutierrez-Rio Rancho






Richard Govea-Volcano Vista






Rowdy Robinson-Belen






Andres Villa-Goddard






Dylan Kuhn-Hobbs





Estevan Chavez-Belen


Senior Wrestler of the Year: Jose Tapia 

                                              Runner up: Michael Mascarenas


Coach of the Year: Evan Copeland Cleveland HS

2014 U.S. Open Promo Video

Why Freestyle and Greco Roman Wrestle?

Why should I Freestyle and Greco Roman Wrestle? WATCH THIS....

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Congratulations to our NM Kids Nationals All-Americans:


Bantam 50 - Jaxon Romero 4th place

Intermediate 103 - Tyler Reinhardt 5th place

Novice 65 - Elijah Sierra 7th place

Schoolboy 152 - Jacob Smith 6th


Bantam 50 - Jaxon Romero 3rd place

Intermediate 103 - Tyler Rienhardt 6th place

Novice 100 - Jude Postlethwait 8th place

Schoolboy 152 - Jacob Smith 7th place

Thank YOU! Coach Valenzuela for ALL your hard work on the event.


Isaac Garcia Jr. - 120 Junior

Wes Rayburn - 138 Junior

Nick Rino - 145 Junior

Cody Manuelito - 170 Junior

Destiny Bailey - 132 Women Cadet


Coach Steve Baker

Coach Nathaniel Augustson

Escort Robert Bailey