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APRIL 18, 2021





Coaches & Leaders,

         I hope you’ve enjoyed the last month of wrestling.  Like all of us, I truly appreciate inching closer to being free again.  Being able to be together, interact, compete, celebrate, pout… simply validates all that our sport holds dear. 

         The various levels of men’s and women’s college championships were great examples.  It is such a treat to see these fine young people so happy !  Their displays of gratitude inspire us all to appreciate competitive opportunity.  Wrestlers, more than most, are keenly aware that the terms Distant and Social are opposites.

         Congratulations to the Hawkeyes, along with all the other D1 teams.  The depth we got to see was amazing.  Sad that this crop didn’t get to listen to a packed house.  The people who were in the arena did their best… and seemed to have a great time.

         Speaking of great time… our Olympic Team Trials were more special than ever.  What a wonderful blend of mature super-stars and fresh blood.  The mature added an extra year to the grind each quadrennium presents, and did so with class.  The fresh talent certainly gave us a lot to look forward to, over the next TRI-ennium, leading to Paris.

         Special thanks is due Team Texas.  Having only a few weeks to round up volunteers and promote the Trials, the event came off beautifully.  Thanx for a productive effort !

         We are fielding, what might end up, one of our best Olympic Teams.  This is another testament to the depth our RTCs, universities and developmental programs are pumping out.  As much as I enjoy the celebration of our team selection, I always find myself being a little extra introspective.  “Shoes-on-the-Mat” reminds us that good thing do come to an end. 

         Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve got coming up.  Please take a good look at    to make sure you’re aware of schedule details.  We’ve got Men’s Cadet and U15 World Team Trials, next week, followed by the Junior Trials a week later.  Our Women’s Age Group Trials are the first weekend of May.  May 20th, we have our Beach Wrestling World Team Trials for both genders, Cadets, Juniors and Seniors.  While it has not been officially announced, UWW is in the process of building the 2021 World Series of Beach Wrestling.  Winners also qualify for the Pan-Ams, November 5-7, in Barbados.

         Our Southern Plains Regional Championship, June 4-6, is back in Mulvane.  Like all Regionals, ours is really one of the most important developmental steps we can guide athletes to.  I know we answer to a lot of parents who are laser focused on their kid being at Kids Nationals or Fargo.  As Coaches, we realize that the majority of those kids have no business being in that level of shark tank.  Being a Regional Champion is a BIG DEAL.  Finding out you’re not needs to be manageable, both for kid and parent, if we hope to keep that youngster in the sport.  Get your kids to Mulvane !

         Along that same philosophical position, I need to share some thoughts about the well-being of our organization.  The last 13 months have reminded us how fragile people and institutions really are.  Each one of us have to accept the challenges USAW currently faces.  We ARE USA Wrestling.  We are the volunteer member Coaches, Referees and Leaders that make up USAW’s second largest constituent group.  Moreover, we represent, directly, the largest group, our athletes.

         It being springtime, I enjoy the metaphor of planting and harvesting.  We have to appreciate the nutrients and the nurturing that produced such a bountiful crop.  Those perennial super-stars have nourished some pretty solid World and Olympic Teams.

         Isn’t it interesting, though, that we refer to very base of our development as GRASS ROOTS ?  I actually had a kind of abrasive conversation, about that, a couple of weeks ago.  A couple of folks, deeply immersed in Kids’ Folkstyle were “explaining” to me why they hadn’t renewed their membership with USA Wrestling, this year.

         Their grind was based on USAW’s methodical planning and steps toward re-entry, as the recovery from the info-demic evolved.  Since many of the entrepreneurs hosted kids events, throughout the winter, these guys spent their money on trophies, NOT MEMBERSHIP !  

         The ‘conversation’ reminded me, yet again, that the attitudes and behaviors, over the last 13 months can teach us some valuable lessons.  At the top of the list, we’ve learned that none of us can take the word MEMBERSHIP lightly.  Each of us has to remind all of us  that MEMBERSHIP is what keeps us “In This Thing TOGETHER”.  We’re not shopping for cheap insurance and we’re not paying for the privilege to sit in the corner of a mat, screaming at an eight-year-old.  

         We are MEMBERS of a very elite club… The National Governing Body of Wrestling.  Uniquely American, our membership encompasses both our Folkstyle discipline and our Olympic presence.  

         Members of any organization are ranked by seniority and production.  New members are likely to pay an initiation fee.  They know that their annual dues, in large part, pay for the padded chairs their senior leaders sit in.  So it goes with wrestling.  It has always been true that Little Kids pay for Big Kids to wrestle.

         If we show elementary kids the simple respect their youthful awareness commands, we will remind them often that a few pennies of their MEMBERSHIP are an investment in Adeline Gray and Kyle Dake.  Every Kid, every Coach, every Referee is paying for plane tickets and hotel rooms and training partners and coaches’ salaries… and and and !

         Dave Shultz spoke to a group of youngsters in 1985.  Dave pulled his 1984 Gold Medal out of a sandwich bag and passed it around.  One kid asked Dave, “If you could share your medal with anyone, who would it be ?” Dave never hesitated.  “If I could cut up that medal and share it with all the people who helped me earn it, the medal would turn to dust.”

         With our Age Group World Team Trials on the horizon, our Regionals coming up, looking forward to Fargo, I challenge each of us to remind ourselves and our kids that we are a part of something greater than ourselves.  Every kid deserves to know who Jesse Porter is and what he’s up against.  Every kid needs to know what’s on the line for Dake and Mensa-Stock.  Every kid deserves to be a MEMBER of this Olympic Team.  

Thanx for reading,



Jennesis Martinez - 101# All-American - 4th @ Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships for Colorado Mesa (Manzano)


Daniel Vargas - All-American - 5th @ NAIA National Championship for Doane (Rio Rancho)

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