NYWAY Providing $$$ For Out of State Trips: Any New York Team Can Apply

Looking for some assistance for your team to travel to an event outside New York?  NYWAY (New York Wrestling Association for Youth) may be able to help.

G2 World Wrestling Academy co-owner Adam Burgos has been all over the Empire State as well as Ohio and Virginia this spring for various competitions, but although he was interested in attending the Grand River Rumble in Michigan in July, an event that boasted over 45 teams from 10 states a year ago, it didn’t seem viable.

However, Burgos will indeed be heading to the Wolverine State in the summer with an All-Star Empire State squad with the help of NYWAY, which offered to subsidize the trip.

“Because of NYWAY the trip will cost $225,” he said.  “That’s for two nights of hotels, a singlet, t-shirt, shorts and entry into the dual meet and individual tournaments.  NYWAY is making a significant contribution – it would probably cost several hundred dollars more otherwise.”

About to enter its second year, NYWAY said from the start that one of its main objectives was to reinvest funds within the Empire State to enrich wrestling locally.   Part of that process is opening up more opportunities for New York grapplers to see both new competition and new surroundings with trips outside of the state.

“Our goal is to take the money raised through membership and tournament fees and put it back into New York wrestling,” said State President Clint Wattenberg.  “One way we’re doing that is supporting kids that want more experience in the offseason; who want to travel and represent New York and NYWAY in areas they might not be able to go to otherwise.  We’ll be able to make things more affordable and remove some of the barriers for the kids to get this experience.”

To that end, NYWAY has set up a form on its website (nyway.org) where any club team can apply for up to $500 in funds to take a team trip.  Wattenberg’s desire is for every applicant to receive some assistance from the organization.

“I hope that any club that is trying to arrange a trip goes to nyway.org and applies,” Wattenberg said.  “The form is very short, and we have a committee of board members that will be taking a look at all the applications. We’re trying to give every team that applies some funding and if a team is taking several trips and there are funds left over, we’ll definitely take a look at that as well.”

Michael Laporte and his son Matthew were beneficiaries last fall when Laporte led a team of New Yorkers on a subsidized journey to Northern California for a dual meet event and an individual tournament.

“The excitement the kids felt about getting on that plane and going to California was amazing,” Laporte said. “Getting to wrestle seven or eight matches on top of that just made it even better.”

Then-11-year old AJ Burkhart was a member of that team as well.

“It was an overwhelming and incredible experience for AJ that we are so glad to have been a part of,” his mother Dana Harbst-Burkhart said. “Wrestling that caliber of competition was incredible.”

Burkhart will be part of the team Burgos will be coaching at the Grand River Rumble, a squad that represents at least six different clubs and several areas around the state.   He believes the benefits on the mat will be significant, as they were for the California trip.

“From a wrestling perspective, traveling to events like these gets rid of the big fish, small pond atmosphere,” Burgos said.  “You can have a ton of success locally, but at national events, you see talent you wouldn’t normally see and you can better see how you’re developing and what you need to do to reach your individual goals.  At the youth level, I think it’s more about experience than wins and losses but getting those experiences against the best competition is imperative.”

But both Harbst-Burkhart and Burgos emphasized that these trips have advantages that go well beyond the wrestling mat.

“The friendships that AJ made on the trip to California are what it’s really all about,” Harbst-Burkhart said.  “Even though it was a New York team, he didn’t know a lot of the kids before.  After the wrestling was over, we were able to see some of California and it was pretty awesome.  We saw Alcatraz.  We have a picture with the whole team in NYWAY singlets with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. AJ still talks about the trip and he will for years to come.”

Burgos agreed.

“There’s a camaraderie built with the kids and the families,” Burgos said.  “And you see new places and have a vacation that builds memories you take with you for a lifetime.  That’s so much of the value of these trips.”

While the team going to the Grand River Rumble is comprised of many of the top placers at the NYWAY State championships in March, Wattenberg emphasized that the opportunities for travel will not be limited to only the most successful grapplers.

“We will be sending some of our top level kids to national competitions,” he said.  “For example, we will have a team going out to California like we did last year.  But we are looking to get our not-yet-elite wrestlers out of state experience in places like New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio and we might do some exchange programs with Canada in some of the Olympic styles.  We are also working on our novice division as we want there to be chances for kids across the spectrum to compete in ways that will challenge them appropriately.”

Those who have been through these travel experiences before believe others should take advantage.

“It’s great to get kids more involved and provide opportunities that they might not otherwise have,” Harbst-Burkhart said.  “We feel privileged to have been a part of it and I hope NYWAY can continue to provide these opportunities so that many other kids can benefit the way we have.”

To view the Travel Team Application form, please visit: http://www.nyway.org/nyway-travel-team-funding-application/

Please contact Clint Wattenberg at clintwattenberg@nyway.org with any questions.

Listen to Clint Wattenberg talk about NYWAY’s funding for clubs

 

–Betsy Veysman

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More Interviews from Cornell Regional Training Center Clinic: Nick Arujau and Clint Wattenberg

At the Cornell Regional Training Center clinic on Memorial Day weekend, Nick Arujau talks about his first year with the Big Red and his thoughts about going 125 or 133 next season.  Clint Wattenberg discusses the growth of the Cornell Regional Training Center and the new freestyle coaching coming on board.

Nick Arujau

 

Clint Wattenberg

The Newest Member of the Wolfpack: All-American Nick Gwiazdowski Discusses His Transfer

When Pat Popolizio took the head coaching job at North Carolina State in April, freshman Nick Gwiazdowski, who reached All-American status in his first season with the Bearcats, started mulling his future options.  In early May, the Delanson, NY native got his full release from Binghamton. 

On Saturday night, while on a visit to the Raleigh campus, Gwiazdowski announced that he was transferring to the ACC school.  He answered a few questions for New York Wrestling News from the airport on his way back to the Empire State.

New York Wrestling News: What has happened over the past few weeks since Binghamton gave you your release?

Nick Gwiazdowski: I received some calls from other schools – some were coming after me pretty hard. I wasn’t that interested – you can’t jump on the ship after it sails. It came down to a small chance of staying at Binghamton or going to NC State.

As far as NC State goes, I needed to come down and look at the school, meet with the academic advisors and straighten out some financial things.  On my visit this weekend, everything fell into place and I knew NC State was where I wanted to be.

What were some of the things you really liked on your trip to Raleigh this weekend?

This place is awesome.  It felt like a vacation with the warm weather.  I had fun with all the people I met.

The coaching staff was the biggest factor for me.  I know [Popolizio] and Frank Beasley really well and they know me.  They were so important in helping me be an All-American this year. I just met Jamill Kelly this weekend and he seemed like a great guy.

The facilities were great.  Everyone I talked to said that [Athletic Director] Debbie Yow is all about winning and she’ll do whatever it takes.  People told some stories.  Like about her letting go a strength coach that had been around for a while but who wasn’t getting the job done; wasn’t putting winners out there. The coaches said that she’s basically put every coach on campus on notice. She’s serious about winning and that type of commitment to winning is exciting.

I also thought academically it would be a good fit for me. (Editor’s Note: Gwiazdowski made the NWCA All-Academic team this season).

What are you interested in studying?

I didn’t declare a major yet at Binghamton. My meetings with the academic advisor here were good. NC State has some programs I’m interested in like sports management and a parks, recreation and tourism major.  I spoke with some people who were in those areas.  One wrestling alum talked about his experiences after college with minor league baseball teams, USA Baseball and now as a young athletic director.  There are a lot of good opportunities for graduates.

Did you meet a lot of the team?

I met a few of the guys who were on campus. I hung out with [Long Island native] Ryan Fox who committed to Binghamton but switched to NC State a little while ago.  I plan to go back to NC State in July and I’ll probably meet more guys then as everyone adjusts to how [Popolizio] runs things.

What’s next for you this summer?

Honestly, I’m a little out of shape.  I won’t be going to the University Nationals.  I’ll be working out and getting back into shape.  My next thing is the Adam Frey Classic where I’m supposed to wrestle Ryan Tomei.  I was excited that Josh Liebman asked me to participate.  It will be great to wrestle for a cause like that in front of a lot of people. Then, I’ll head back down to Raleigh.  Right now, the plan is for me to redshirt next year.

Congratulations on your decision.  Is there anything else you want to add?

Thank you.  I will miss my family and friends in New York. It’s a little hard to leave and it will be an adjustment, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  I felt good about NC State for the last few weeks but after visiting this weekend, everything came together. I knew I liked the coaching staff but everything else is there too – the academics, athletic department, the campus, financials.  I’m sure that it’s the place I want to be.

———————-

Gwiazdowski went 30-9 as a true freshman at heavyweight for Binghamton.  He was the CAA Rookie of the Year after capturing a conference championship and earned All-America honors after taking eighth place in St. Louis.

Columbia's Wyatt Baker Earns Spot on Junior World Team; Richardson and Howes Take Second

Columbia’s Wyatt Baker earned the 120 kg spot on the Junior Greco World Team when he beat Parker Betts of the Minnesota Storm in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.  Baker topped Betts in the first bout 1-0, 1-1 and then followed with a 1-0, 0-4, 1-0 victory to clinch his berth on the United States team headed to Pattaya, Thailand in September.

Baker, an Anaheim Hills, California native, recently completed his freshman year at Columbia where he compiled a 13-5 record at 285 with seven falls.

Two other wrestlers with ties to the Empire State were finalists at the event in freestyle.  Caleb Richardson of the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club was the runner up at 55 kg.  The Virginia native, who will be a freshman at Cornell in the fall, won the challenge tournament in the morning to earn a meeting with Joey Dance, the victor at the FILA Juniors in April.  Dance won a head to head battle with Richardson at that event and did the same this weekend, taking the first match 5-0, 1-0 and the second 1-0, 1-0.

Colorado’s Dwight Howes, a future upperweight for Hofstra, won the 84 kg challenge event on Saturday and then faced Patrick Downey in the finals.  Downey, representing the NYAC, defeated Howes in three periods in their first bout and followed with a 2-1, 5-4 result.

 

 

 

Vougar Oroudjov Reflects on his World Cup Experience with Team USA

A little over a week ago, Vougar Oroudjov returned from Baku, Azerbaijan where he was on the staff of the United States team that finished third at the FILA World Cup.   The two-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist talked to New York Wrestling News about his experience with the USA squad.

What was your role with the team?

Zeke Jones called me about two weeks before the tournament and asked if I could come.  I was a Team Leader.  I was born in Azerbaijan and speak the language there so I translated when we needed it, dealt with hotels, referees and things like that.  I was also at practice and the matches.  I did what I could to help the guys. It was great to be a part of it with everyone on the team and the great coaches – Zeke Jones, John Smith, Mark Manning and Brandon Slay.  It was my first time with the US Team and I didn’t feel like an outsider at all.  We all wanted the same thing – to win.  The atmosphere was great.

What did you think about the team’s performance?

The team was very good.  The United States keeps making big improvements in freestyle.  You saw it at the World Championships and again at the World Cup.

We lost to Iran 4-3, but I wouldn’t say they were much better. Maybe a few tactical things made the difference. In the first match, at 55 kg with Nick Simmons, there were a couple of situations where there were calls that could go either way and they went Iran’s way.  Same thing with [Keith] Gavin’s match at 84 kg.   It was a good learning experience.  I think everyone understands that we have some work to do to be the best team in the world, but we’re getting closer.  There is time before the Olympics to focus on our mistakes and fix them.

Who impressed you individually for the United States?

Jordan Burroughs, Coleman Scott and Tervel Dlagnev were all undefeated and wrestled really well.

Burroughs showed why he is the World Champion.  He knew exactly what he needed to do against the competition.  Dlagnev has the experience on this level and it showed.

It was the first time I saw Coleman Scott wrestle and I was amazed. He was really tough and mentally ready. He wasn’t intimidated about wrestling for the national team, he just went out to win. He never stopped moving; was all the time attacking.  I really like his style – he always showed offensive wrestling.  He beat some very good wrestlers.  I thought 60 kg was one of the toughest weights overall at the tournament. If I were the coach, I’d want him on the Olympic team.  Of course, I’m not the coach.

Honestly, there weren’t any guys who didn’t compete well.  Take someone like Jake Varner.  He lost some matches, but he still wrestled pretty well.  He lost to some World finalists.  I still think he’s good enough to do very well in London. The  Olympics are different than the World Cup. I have several friends who never won anything until they put it together and won the Olympics.

What do you think of the freestyle wrestling you saw at the tournament?

The rules just keep changing.  I know I learned a lot because things are different than when I wrestled freestyle.  To me, it’s getting so much more tactical.  In folkstyle, it’s all about intensity; guys going all out the whole match.  In freestyle now, it isn’t like that.  A lot of it is getting one pushout or taking one shot or grabbing the right ball out of a bag.  I don’t like that.  Just go to overtime and see who scores to get the real winner. There also seems to be a lot more questionable calls.  But we all know the rules.  There are no excuses.  We need to train for those rules and those types of matches.

You had a New York wrestler on the team in Cornell’s Kyle Dake.  He didn’t compete in the dual competition, but how did he look in training?

Kyle was there to be the training partner for Jordan Burroughs and to possibly give Burroughs a rest if we could during the tournament.  That didn’t wind up happening.

But even though he wasn’t in the tournament, I saw Kyle wrestle a lot. Each practice, I was in his corner, watching him.  He’s really good and getting better and better in freestyle. The best thing is that he listens.  You say something to him and he appreciates it and makes the changes.  He was impressive. People would be surprised how good he looked and how he looks against Burroughs.

We also had matches before the tournament where he was wrestling the guys from places like Azerbaijan and Russia.  He did very well against them.  I definitely think Kyle will make the next Olympics.  He’s really progressing in freestyle.  He will be a big surprise for everybody in the next Olympic cycle.

What’s next for you?

I will be working with the kids in my club [Vougars Honors Wrestling in Syosset] on freestyle to prepare for Fargo.

Then, we’ll see.  The USA coaches invited me to come with the team to the Olympics.  It was really hard for me to leave my family for the two weeks for the World Cup, so it would be hard to go for a longer time to London.  I missed home.  I missed my wrestlers and my club.  My son Vitali won the NY Freestyle States while I was away.    That’s one of the reasons the decision to go to Baku was so hard – I knew I would have to miss that and the other New York States for Cadets and Juniors.  I’m probably 50/50 right now on going to London.  I am honored that I was asked and it would be an honor to be there and help and give back to America.

Either way, I wish everyone luck.  I’m hoping for some Olympic championships.  We definitely have several guys who have shown that they are good enough to do it.

NYS Cadet Freestyle Team Looking For Wrestlers

The NYS Cadet Freestyle team is looking for interested wrestlers to wrestle on the National Duals Team in Daytona, Florida June 15-16. There are weight classes that need to be filled (88, 84, 113, 120, 182, 195 & 220)

Please contact Coaches asap:

Anthony Servidone (aservidone@yahoo.com)
Dean Zenie (rdzenie@aol.com)
Larry Cantor (LCantor2@schools.nyc.gov)