Mark the date on your calendar…November 19, 2010…..a date that will be remembered as the USA National Team returned to prominence in world competition.
The Long Island Wrestling community along with 350 Beat the Streets wrestlers from New York City began the evening by chanting USA! USA! USA! helping to ignite the passion that has been lacking the last few years with our young world team members.
In 3 very close matches with the USA competitors behind needing to score the last point heard the crowd urging them with cheers of “go get them” was the difference in the final results of the dual meet…..the USA responded with takedowns to win the match in the last few seconds.
Wrestlers love to compete with a crowd behind them. Many times in foreign arena’s the USA teams respond poorly early on especially with a young team. Most recently in the 2010 Moscow World Championships we lost four wrestlers in the first round of competition.
This was a young and a very good group from Russia as evidenced on Sunday at the NYAC International Tournament where they had 3 Champions in a very tough international tournament.
Head Coach Zeke Jones was excited with the crowd and the enthusiasm displayed for the USA team helped him along with his “lucky charm” sitting in the corner emotionally motivating the team was former World Team Coach Joe Seay.
Seay is the lone USA Coach in its long and glorious history of freestyle wrestling in America to ever win a World Team Championship. He won our first Team Title in 1993 in Toronto, Canada and repeated it again in 1995 in Atlanta.
Personally, I had the pleasure to coach several teams with Coach Seay and he is an outstanding coach. He’s a wrestlers’ coach….the kids like him, respect his ability in the corner analyzing the competition and provides a great atmosphere in his well organized practices.
He learned the trade as a high school coach in California moving on to Cal-State Bakersfield winning many NCAA D2 Team Championships with many of his wrestlers winning D1 national titles the follow week.
He moved on to Oklahoma State and won two NCAA Team Championships.
A “big step” for Team USA and the momentum is for the team to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games for each weight class that begins this season in several selected championships throughout the world.
Friday was a good start!