Gold Mining: Jason Goldman Looking for Titles at the Veteran World Championships in Bosnia

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

At the beginning of October, two-time Binghamton University All-American Jason Goldman will begin his journey in Sarajevo, Bosnia as he chases the title of Veteran World Champion. After winning Freestyle and Greco Roman national titles in each of the last three years, he’ll be looking for double gold, competing in both styles at 58 kg. (Freestyle will be first).

Goldman has seen a lot of overseas success throughout his wrestling career. In 1990, he won a gold medal at the Vierumaki International Cup in Finland and in 1991 he earned a silver medal at the Cadet World Championships. Fast forward to 2009 when Goldman won a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in Israel. (The Maccabiah games are recognized as the Jewish Olympics held every four years).

A lot of things had to fall into place for “Coach JGold”, as the Section Four community refers to him, to make the upcoming trip. First, he had to win the Freestyle and Greco Roman national titles back in April. He also had to raise the money to travel and he had to train.

Who would have thought that winning the national championships would be the easy part? Goldman dismantled his competition, surrendering only two points and picking up two pins and a technical fall in Freestyle. Meanwhile, in Greco, he picked up two technical superiorities on his way to his second title in two days.

Jason Goldman with Casey Lanave

Raising money might have been the most stressful part for Goldman.  He had three weeks to prepare for a spaghetti dinner, where there was also a bake sale, Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, great food, and a DJ/band for entertainment. Another major contributor to his fundraising efforts were Goldman’s “TEAM JGOLD” shirts, which were a huge hit.

“I only anticipated getting five dozen made up but after pre-selling them in a week’s time, I had accounted for almost 150 shirts,” Goldman said. “To this day, I have sold over 200 ‘TEAM JGOLD’ shirts, and I still have various sizes available for purchase – cost is $20.”

The last part that needed to fall into place was preparation for the tournament.  Of course, that wasn’t easy with many other commitments.

“Competing as a Veteran, most of us have busy lives that revolve around work and family,” Goldman said. “We all wear many hats; whether we’re husbands, fathers, sons, teachers, coaches.  I’m fortunate that no matter the role, I have a pretty strong supporting cast behind me, especially from my wife of six years. As a result, I’m blessed to say that my training over the last five months has gone very well.”

That preparation has been intense, both physically and mentally.

“From a physical standpoint, my training weeks since April have consisted of two to three days of wrestling practice, two days of lifting, several runs and watching lots of video,” Goldman said. “I run a lot of 5K races on the weekends to stay in shape, challenge myself and keep that competitive edge.  I’m constantly setting small goals for myself, whether it is to run faster, lift heavier, not give up takedowns in practice during live goes, etc. I’m thankful to have had a great training partner throughout the summer, Casey Lanave, student-athlete at Cortland. Throughout my training, I have also continued to coach a handful of dedicated kids, who by making a commitment to the sport have inspired me to work hard to achieve my goals, as I help them work toward their own.”

Achieving his goals also involves running the upcoming tournament through his mind, ready for whatever awaits.

“As for my mental preparation, I’ve spent every day since Nationals visualizing myself winning this competition,” Goldman said. “I’ve seen myself as a World Champion for the last 150 plus days.  I’ve already won.  It’s all about going out and executing my game plan at this point.”

Goldman said he’s excited about what the journey will bring.

Jason Goldman (center) at Veteran Nationals

“Going to the Veteran Worlds will be an overall new experience, different competition and a different country,” he said. “Another thing that makes this trip so special is having my father go out as the Team Leader.  My father has only missed one competition (Finland) in my competitive career that has spanned more than three decades.  It means the world to me, not only to have him make the trip to watch me compete, but to have him in my corner while I do so.”

He’s very clear on what he, with his father at his side, plans to do when he gets to Sarajevo.

“A few weeks ago, I got a tattoo on my right bicep of the words ‘Carpe Diem’, Latin for ‘Seize the Day’ and the letters ‘ETG’ (Embrace the Grind).  This has been my training motto all along, and one that I try to instill in all the wrestlers that I coach. I’ve worked hard, I’m healthy, I believe in my training and I believe in myself.  I’ve never been more ready to throw up the straps, lace up the shoes, flip that ‘beast mode’ switch and empty the tank!  In the words of our 74 kg World Champion Jordan Burroughs, ‘All I See is Gold’, except because I’m representing the USA in both styles in Bosnia, I’m hoping to bring home DOUBLE GOLD!”

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Jason Goldman wanted to thank Jeff Goldman, Greg Smith, Rob Kennedy, Thorobred WC, Superior WC, Rocky Point WC and the Hancock Youth Program, for their support and their major financial contributions.

"Riot" Recap: NY Wrestlers Excel, Superior Takes Second and Vinny Vespa Recognized at Northeast Youth Duals

The rain came down in buckets on the roof of the open-air venue in Hoosick Falls on Saturday.  But it didn’t stop the intensity of the wrestling for a second nor did it take away from the experience at the Third Annual Northeast Youth Duals, otherwise known as, “The Riot at the Rink.”

“It was like the end of the year bash,” said Superior Wrestling Academy coach Ed Schafer. “You couldn’t pick a better place and it had everything you need for a great tournament.”

According to event director Michael LaPorte, everyone remained dry and the 12-team dual meet competition featuring wrestlers from more than 10 states continued without interruption, with NJ Elite emerging as the championship squad.

The Garden State-based team swept its contests in convincing fashion.

“NJ Elite went undefeated and no one really even came close to them,” LaPorte said. “They were well coached, very deep and had no holes.  It was obvious that every one of those wrestlers has been on the mat for a long time. They were really tough.”

Also very tough was Superior Wrestling Academy, which finished in the runner up spot with a lineup full of wrestlers from the Empire State.

The top two teams met in the opening round on Saturday and it wasn’t quite the start Schafer and his team desired.

“We lost our first dual to NJ Elite right off the jump,” Schafer said.  “If you looked at the score, you’d think we got shellacked. But there were some overtime matches and a bunch of one-point matches that didn’t go our way.  A lot of kids that age could have bagged it mentally and said ‘we’re done.’  But they held their composure and responded.”

Indeed, the Superior wrestlers did.  That first loss was the only setback of the weekend, as they came back to take the silver medal.

“We felt we could make a run at the title coming into the event with the team we had,” Schafer said.  “The level of the competition was over and above what we expected.  But the way the kids competed after the first dual and took true second, that was the best part of the weekend for me.” (See team roster below).

Leading the charge for Superior was a trio of unbeaten wrestlers – Freddy Eckles, Bryce Bailey and Dakota Gardner.  Gardner took sixth place at 120 pounds at the New York state championships this year as an eighth grader.

“When that whistle blows, Gardner is like a little hand grenade out there,” LaPorte said.  “He’s an exceptional athlete.  He was one of many tremendous wrestlers on the mats this weekend.  I felt that the level of wrestling this year was unbelievable — some of the best youth wrestling I’ve ever seen.  The referees were telling me that they were in awe of the abilities of some of these kids.  Sometimes when I watched, I lost track of the fact that they are just young kids.” (The tournament was limited to wrestlers 14 and under).

Photo by Dave Gilchrest

The coaches mentioned a plethora of grapplers who impressed, including Joe Manno of Apex and Peter Del Gallo of Mercury Rising, who according to LaPorte, didn’t yield any points during the weekend.

In fact, when the coaches were asked to vote for the Most Outstanding Wrestler, there were many nominees.  But the trophy went to Brian Courtney of the New York-based G2 World Wrestling Academy for his outstanding efforts.

“Brian Courtney is a great young man in addition to being a great wrestler,” LaPorte said.

Photo by Dave Gilchrest

Courtney and his G2 teammates (see roster below) had a successful weekend, taking fourth place overall in the team race and according to coach Adam Burgos, they’ll be back for another run in 2013.

Superior and G2 were joined by a third Empire State squad in the championship pool.  Team New York, headed by LaPorte, took sixth.

“I couldn’t have been happier with the way our team wrestled,” LaPorte said. “We had at least four kids on our team that had just one loss.  That was tough to do here where there were so many champions and placers from state and national events.”

While the wrestling was the centerpiece of the weekend, the highlight for LaPorte came away from the action, during the awards ceremony.

Many New York wrestling fans are supporting Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa in his battle with cancer.  (For more on Vinny Vespa, see here). Vespa, a state qualifier in 2012, participated in Riot at the Rink for the Olympic Wrestling Club a year ago and returned this weekend to watch his team and his younger brother Marco.

However, Vespa became more than a spectator after the competition was over.  He was called to the mat to receive donations collected throughout the weekend as well as a card and “Riot at the Rink” banner signed by all of the athletes, coaches and fans.  And then, Vinny Vespa was asked to hand out an award, named after him, to a wrestler determined by the Olympic Club.  That recipient was Marco Vespa.

“I felt horrible that I couldn’t make it to the Victory 4 Vinny Takedown Tournament a few weeks ago,” LaPorte said. “We were glad to do a small fundraiser and have everyone sign a card and banner for Vinny.  It was extremely surprising and gratifying that Vinny came to the event.  When he came out on to the middle of the mat, it was a little bit of a tearjearking moment.  I felt like we did a little bit to make a difference and that was the highlight of the weekend for me.”

It wasn’t the only highlight.  While the planned swimming, golf and live band on Saturday evening couldn’t take place due to the inclement weather, LaPorte found different ways to put smiles on people’s faces that night.

“On Sunday, we were able to get in the pool and there was a barbecue,” LaPorte said. “But on Saturday night when the rain was there, I brought a limousine as sort of a team bus, just for fun. We took some of the kids for a ride in the limo, which they got a big kick out of.  I kept telling them, ‘this is how we roll in New York’.  We definitely got some laughs.”

Photo by Dave Gilchrest

So it was a weekend with a high-end car and high-end wrestling. And both LaPorte and Schafer believed it was a good barometer of where New York wrestling is heading.

“To have that amount of talent show up in the middle of the summer to the middle of nowhere, that says something about the strength of our sport,” LaPorte said.  “It’s a good healthy sign that things are going in the right direction, as is the support we’re getting from the clubs, the schools, the community. I believe it shows that New York wrestling is going the right way. Now it’s time to see what we can do for 2013.  I can’t wait to see what next year brings.”

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Check out more photos from the event at:  http://www.davegilchrestphotography.com

Team Results

Champion: NJ Elite

2nd Place: Superior

3rd Place: Olympic Gold

4th Place: G2 World Wrestling Academy

5th Place: Mass Maniacs

6th Place: Team NY

7th Place: Apex

8th Place: Marcaurelle

9th Place: Virginia Slaughter House Black

10th Place: Mercury Rising

11th Place: Olympic Black

12th Place: Virginia Slaughter House Blue

 

Superior Wrestling – 2nd Place Team:

Johnny Aceri

Bryce Bailey

Emerson Block

Jon DeRidder

Freddy Eckles

Ethan Ferro

Dakota Gardner

Myles Griffin

Nathaniel Grubham

Kyle Mock

Stevo Poulin

Theo Powers

JP Puca

Drew Schafer

Jace Schafer

Carter Schubert

Joey Sliowski

Mike Venosa

G2 World Wrestling Academy – 4th Place Team:

48 Pounds: Michael Santore

53 Pounds: Carson Alberti

58 Pounds: Andy Lucinski

63 Pounds: Greg Diakomihalis

68 Pounds: Ryan Burgos

73 Pounds: Max Kropman

78 Pounds: Cooper Kropman

85 Pounds: Brian Courtney

93 Pounds: Derek St. James

99 Pounds: Parker Kropman

105 Pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis

112 Pounds: Louie DePrez

119 Pounds: Charlie Kane

126 Pounds: Keith Penny

134 Pounds: Logan Smith

New York Teams Spend Successful Father's Day Weekend at Ragin Raisins Duals in PA

It may not have been the traditional Father’s Day with special breakfasts and backyard barbecues, but it was a great weekend nonetheless for several New York wrestling dads at the Ragin Raisins Duals in Erie, PA.

For the combined Superior Wrestling Academy/Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) Red and Gold teams, it was an opportunity for over 20 families to camp out and enjoy swimming and other activities in the great outdoors.

And of course, there was the action on the mat as well.

G2 World Wrestling Academy co-owner Adam Burgos said the fathers on his squad were happy with the present they were given.

“We had a great weekend of wrestling and as an added bonus the fathers at G2 received a second place finish from our wrestlers and sons,” Burgos said.

G2 earned runner up status in the youth division after facing Georgia’s undefeated Team Minion, which featured state finalists at every weight, in the championship dual. The Rochester-area squad went 6-2 overall on the way to the finals, despite yielding seven forfeits in each meet.

“We got pins when we needed to get them,” Burgos said. “We were fortunate the kids came through the way they did.  Everybody just battled and battled tough all weekend long.”

According to Burgos, Frankie Gissendanner and the Diakomihalis brothers, Yianni and Greg, all picked up seven wins for G2 while the Kropman trio – Parker, Cooper and Max –  registered five victories apiece.

Like G2, another Empire State squad compiled a 6-2 mark on the weekend – Superior/FLWC Red.

“We saw some really tough competition, which is what we wanted,” said coach Gary Ferro.  “Our only losses were to the first (Team Minion) and third (Ragin Raisins Green, PA) place teams and we beat the second place team (G2), which was a great win for us.  I’m really proud of the kids – they worked really hard and when you add in the fun we had camping together as families, it was a great, great experience.”

While the coach emphasized that the squad competed well throughout the lineup, he mentioned standout performances from Theo Powers (six wins at 108 pounds), Kelan McKenna (undefeated) and Ethan Ferro (seven victories at 68).

“There’s so much I could say about Theo,” Ferro said. “He showed mental toughness and stepped up against some very good competition throughout the weekend.  And I was very impressed with Kelan as usual.  He brought it like he always does.  Ethan had a big 10-5 win over a good kid from Journeymen who is a few years older than him.  He really enjoyed that one.”

While G2, Superior/FLWC and Journeymen all enjoyed competition in the youth division, Cobra Wrestling Academy entered teams in both the youth and high school brackets, taking fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

“We were looking to get some quality matches in and we definitely accomplished that,” said Cobra Executive Director Keith Maute.  “There was some great wrestling. We weren’t the only team missing guys, but we had to forfeit a lot of matches – 7 forfeits (in 20 weighs) on our youth team and five on the high school side.  That didn’t help, but the kids we did have obviously wrestled really well to make up for it.”

Maute noted that three of his grapplers — Carson Alberti, Kellen Devlin and Dakota Gardner —  went unbeaten on his younger squad, while Dylan Caruana and Nick Mitchell each lost a single bout in the high school division.

Also participating in the high school action were an additional trio of Empire State teams – Falconer, WRCL and Excelsior United.

“A few years ago, Cobra was the only New York team at this event,” Burgos said. “There were quite a few this year.  It’s great to see that even in the summer New York is sending teams out to compete and improve.  It was a phenomenal weekend.”

For dual-by-dual results, see below (NY teams in bold italics):

YOUTH DIVISION

ROUND 1

Superior/FLWC Red 60 – Mountain Grapplers 23

RRWC Green 57 – Journeymen 22

Team Minion 42 – AWC 37

G2 45 – RRWC TD 24

Cobra 61 – Superior/FLWC Gold 21

ROUND 2

Team Minion 63 – Superior/FLWC Red 22

AWC 62 – Mountain Grapplers 21

G2 36 – Cobra 24

Lancaster 46 – FLB 33

RRWC TD 58 – Superior/FLWC Gold 28

ROUND 3

RRWC Green 57 – Superior/FLWC Red 34

Lancaster 50 – Superior/FLWC Gold 31

Gladiator 50 – FLB 24

Journeymen 52 – Mountain Grapplers 22

Team Minion 51 – Cobra 16

ROUND 4

G2 37 – Lancaster 26

Journeymen 59 – Superior/FLWC Gold 21

Cobra 42 – FLB 21

RRWC TD 48 – Gladiator 42

RRWC Green 38 – AWC 34

ROUND 5

Cobra 41 – Lancaster 27

RRWC Green 52 – FLB 21

G2 38 – Gladiator 34

AWC 52 – Journeymen 31

Team Minion 81 – Mountain Grapplers 3

ROUND 6

Cobra 54 – RRWC TD 27

FLB 43 – Superior/FLWC Gold 26

Gladiator 46 – Lancaster 27

RRWC Green 63 – Mountain Grapplers 18

Superior/FLWC Red 42 – G2 22

ROUND 7

Gladiator 59 – Superior Gold/FLWC 18

G2 32 – FLB 12

Superior/FLWC Red 60 – Journeymen 16

AWC 44 – Lancaster 24

ROUND 8

G2 46 – Superior/ FLWC Gold 21

Lancaster 51 – RRWC TD 32

Gladiator 48 – Mountain Grapplers 38

Team Minion 54 – RRWC Green 36

ROUND 9

Team Minion 56 – J-Men 18

RRWC TD 48 – FLB 27

Superior/FLWC Red 40 – AWC 30

Cobra 42 – Gladiator 37

ROUND 10

Mountain Grapplers 45 –FLB 19

RRWC TD 39 – Journeymen 33

Superior/FLWC Red 48 – Lancaster 30

AWC 51 – Gladiator 28

ROUND 11

Team Minion 56 – G2 13

RRWC Green 51 – Cobra 26

 

HIGH SCHOOL

ROUND 1

AWC 63 – FLB 6

Lake Country 51 – RRWC Purple 15

Quest 43 – Cobra 12

ROUND 2

FLB 42 – Falconer 27

RRWC Purple 47 – WRCL 15

RRWC Pink 43 – House 15

ROUND 3

Alleghany Mountain 23 – House 22

Quest 46 – E United 9

Cobra 43 – WRCL 19

ROUND 4

Quest 33 – Lake Country 18

Alleghany Mountain 42 – Falconer 15

AWC 54 – House 6

ROUND 5

E United 38WRCL 19

RRWC Pink 52 – FLB 15

Cobra 40 – RRWC Purple 16

ROUND 6

Lake Country 49 – E United 3

RRWC Pink 54 – Falconer 9

AWC 50 – Alleghany Mountain 6

ROUND 7

Lake Country 49 – WRCL 6

RRWC Purple 42 – E United 16

AWC 83 – Falconer 3

Alleghany Mountain 30 – FLB 15

ROUND 8

Quest 52 – WRCL 9

AWC 34 – RRWC Pink 22

Lake Country 40 – Cobra 6

House 40 – Falconer 18

ROUND 9

Quest 45 – RRWC Purple 9

Cobra 28 – E United 12

House 30 – FLB 24

RRWC Pink 42 – Alleghany Mountain 12

ROUND 10

E United 24Falconer 24

Cobra 27 – House 18

WRCL 39 – FLB 21

Alleghany Mountain 35 – RRWC Purple 31

ROUND 11

E United 18 – FLB 6

Quest 42 – RRWC Pink 15

Falconer 36 – WRCL 24

AWC 31 – Lake Country 24

ROUND 12

Cobra 28 – Alleghany Mountain 19

RRWC Purple 43 – Lake Erie House 18

Quest 50 – AWC 12

RRWC Pink 30 – Lake Country 26