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  1. https://s3.amazonaws.com/fhsaa.org/documents/2020/10/21/rec_wr_10_21_20.pdf The above is a link to the FHSAA wrestling record book. For some reason, there are a lot of folks who, legend has it, were state champions who never showed up in the records. I don't know if it is pure fabrication, embellishment or something else. It's possible they were AAU state champions or they won a small tournament in middle school, but they aren't in the FHSAA book. I've heard of Ricky the dragon, Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) and Warren Sapp supposedly winning a state title, but I have seen no actual record of it. One exception is Ray Lewis, who did win the Class 4A 189 pound title in 1993. I don't know Bob Orton Jr.'s amateur background. Hiro Matsuda was running his wrestling school out of a classroom at USF for a few weeks in the summer of '72 until he got his own building. Orton was showing me (16 years old) a counter to the inside leg ride when he jumped up, yelled, "Those guys stole my wallet!" and took off like a bat out of hell before I could even get my glasses on. He came back a few minutes later, clutching his wallet and bleeding from bite marks on his chest. I asked him what happened. He said, "I suplexed the first guy on the sidewalk. That took care of him. The other guy kept biting me, so I poked him in the eyes. I got my wallet back.". Blair wrestled for Tampa Bay Tech, which is not exactly a powerhouse program. I was watching Championship Wrestling from Florida with a friend of mine, when he jumped up, pointed at the screen and said, "That's Brian Blair! He sucks! I pinned him in the first period!". Blair was so bad at that point in his career that the bad guy (I think it was Lars Anderson) wrestled him amateur style for most of the match. It just goes to show that hard work and perseverence paid off, since Blair had a pretty solid pro career. Pat Tanaka finished second in Class 3A for Tampa Catholic in 1980. I think Bruce Woyan finished third in the state (my memory is fuzzy on that one) and I saw in a record book that he was the first Floridian to AA at Junior Nationals (before it became "Fargo"). The Simon brothers wrestled for Jesuit in Tampa. If memory serves, they were average wrestlers, but I never heard them bragging about their amateur background. As an aside, Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff (also nicknamed the Brandon Bull) played football at Brandon High and UT before turning to pro wrestling. He graduated high school just before Brandon started having a wrestling team.
  2. I wasn't aware that Eddie Graham also supported the University of Tampa team, but it makes sense since he lived in Tampa. I heard (unverified) stories about Jack Brisco rolling around with Fletcher Carr at UT. Supposedly, Fletcher was getting frustrated and said something, where Brisco then told him, "I'm only going to pin you one more time!". I don't know if it is true or just urban legend. Anyway, Eddie supporting amateur wrestling (the Brandon wrestling team was on Championship Wrestling from Florida after winning their first state title in 1977) was not just good for the community, it was also good for business. Several Tampa Bay area high school wrestlers from that era went on to become pro wrestlers. Off the top of my head, there was Buzz Sawyer (Bruce Woyan), Brian Blair (who was terrible in high school), Pat Tanaka and The Malenko (Simon) brothers. Hiro Matsuda had a wrestling school that was for aspiring pros three days a week and amateur wrestlers three days a week, with the future pros occasionally working out with the young kids. (Bob Orton Jr. taught me a counter to the inside leg ride), and I heard Bob Roop also came by a few times. Masao Hattori led the amateur practices and Hiro taught the aspiring pros (and also the kids). Good times!
  3. Eddie Graham (pro wrestler and promoter) donated $50,000 for a wrestling room at UF. One year later, the program was dropped and Pell converted the room to a weight room for the football team. The Gators dropped women's volleyball the same year as wrestling, but brought it back a year later. Pell was later fired after committing hundreds of NCAA violations, and the football team was put on probation. What a great hire Pell was! Considering how many sports programs have been dropped over the years, I get ticked at the greedy, spoiled football and basketbal players who are demanding to be paid for playing in college. How many more programs would need to die to cover their expenses?
  4. And that jerk (trying to keep it clean) Charley Pell came from Clemson and was instrumental in the University of Florida dropping its wrestling program, which started the dominoes dropping in the SEC.
  5. He's another famous guy who I've never heard of before. Then again, I'm an old guy who can make up my own mind about what I want without the aid of an "influencer".
  6. Franklin Gomez being the exception. He has had a very strong career after high school.
  7. What do you consider to be "real wrestlers"? From your comments, it appears that nationally ranked, state champion and undefeated high school wrestlers don't meet your stringent criteria, so what does? Someone on the Olympic ladder? If so, that runs counter to the topic of collegiate/scholastic styles.
  8. Considering that the lighter weight guy in my example was nationally ranked and the heavier guy was undefeated, I'd say your assessment of wrestling ability is a tad off. It's not difficult to drive someone out of bounds once you push hard enough to force the first step back, especially if you have a 50 pound weight advantage. While it is most common with the heavies, I've also seen it with lighter wrestlers. There was a three time state champion about 30 years ago at 160 pounds who was so jacked his senior year that he just forced double underhooks and drove his opponents backwards. He would either drive them out of bounds or push so hard and fast that tripped and got stuck. The funny thing is that he knew a lot of technique (he won his first title as a sophomore using a spladle to pin his opponents), but was so damn strong as a senior that he didn't bother to use it. Hell, I even did it once myself. I friend had talked me into going to a local open tournament as my last hurrah before entering the working world the next week. I was out of shape, but figured there wouldn't be much competition. That was true until the final, where my opponent was a two-time state finalist who had a year of college wrestling under his belt. I was up 1-0 late in the third when he stood up, turned and faced me. I had him in a bearhug and figured I would drive him to his back, but my arms were like wet noodles and I had nothing left, so I drove him out of bounds. I should have received a stalling warning, but in this small tournament they just started us over and I rode him out for the win.
  9. It's pretty common for heavyweights at the high school level. How many times have you seen a 285 pound heavy lock up and drive a 230 pound heavy out of pounds, and then the ref hits the smaller guy for stalling? The worst example I ever saw was in the state finals five or ten years ago. One kid was a returning (two time?) state champion at 220 pounds, who couldn't quite make weight anymore. His opponent barely made the 285 limit. The lighter wrestler kept shooting and scored takedowns about half the time (and got pancaked once). The bigger guy did nothing but lock up and drive the lighter guy out of bounds, but was awarded with multiple stall points. The big guy won after a takedown at the buzzer was waved off.
  10. My high school coach never wrestled. He was told that the team needed a coach and he was it. That first year was terrible (he literally pulled film strips from the library to demonstrate moves), but he learned quickly. We won the conference and district the next year and finished third at state the following year (we might have won it if the majority of the team didn't have the flu). He did get a title three years later. I'm sure he could have been a good referee if he chose to, but he probably burned a few too many bridges to want to do that.
  11. I think it comes down to personal preference. I agree with T-Rex in that I think folkstyle is more entertaining than freestyle (although I think freestyle in the 70's and 80's was more interesting than it is today). Part of the problem is that FILA was constantly fiddling with the rules (and generally making them worse). Now that they are UWW, they have at least made changes for the better. IMO, freestyle scoring is much more subjective than folkstyle, which can lead to national politics affecting the outcome. For example, Franklin Gomez was leading the wrestler from Ukraine and initiated a leg attack that went out of bounds. The Ukraine guy did what I call (in folkstyle) the JV heavyweight roll, where he rolled backwards (exposing his back) and then exposed Gomez's back, before he finished on top. In folkstyle, it would have been a clear takedown for Franklin. In the Olympics, there were heated arguments between the ref and mat judges about who initiated the move, with one side arguing for a takedown to the back for Franklin and the other side (who won the debate) saying it was 2 for the Ukraine wrestler, who ended up winning the match because of that call. Then he ended up beating a Mongolian wrestler in the bronze medal match. The Mongolian coaches were so incensed that their guy got ripped off that they stripped down to their underwear on the mat. While it was an entertaining spectacle, it didn't reflect well on the sport. Every argument made in favor of freestyle (other than it is an Olympic style) can also be made for folkstyle. If you note the decline in the number of college teams (due in large part to the big money sports escalation in spending and how the AD's respond to Title IX), then you also have to acknowledge the cuts in Olympic weights from 10 to 6 to make room for women's freestyle, in large part due to NBC's Olympic philosophy that they need to cater to the female viewer because they think the guys will watch no matter what they broadcast. That's why they have two zillion talking head segments and concentrate on the "pretty sports", as my wife calls them. The "testosterone sports", such as wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, karate, etc. are relegated to the wee hours of the morning (with the possible exception of female competitors), while synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, equestrian events, etc. get primetime coverage. For that matter, there was talk of cutting wrestling from the Games altogether. Regarding pro opportunities, mat wrestling is very important in MMA, so folkstyle is better in that regard. Even with the cuts, colleges still have ten weight classes. Of course, so does freestyle 3/4ths of the time, but every fourth year wrestlers have to decide whether to go up or down in weight if their weight class isn't an Olympic weight. How many freestyle matches were decide by who was put on the shot clock? You may complain about folkstyle stalling calls being inconsistent, but they have nothing on shot clock calls. Even if the ref splits two calls, with one to each wrestler, the guy who doesn't score during the second shot clock loses, since ties are decided by who scores last. Of course, this is still an improvement over the ball grab, but that's not saying much. The bottom line is that the whole argument is like a vegetarian and carnivore arguing about diet. Each is convinced that their preference is better.
  12. My least favorite fans are the ones who sit behind me, then emit an ear-piercing whistle while rooting for their kid. The next worst is the teenie bop girl with a high-pitched voice who screams at the top of her lungs for her boyfriend or brother. I've taken to wearing ear plugs to the meets.
  13. Josh Lambrecht deserves some consideration at 184. With a little luck, he could have been a 2X NC. He was 6th as a sophomore, had a heartbreaking loss in the final as a junior, when he was pinned after being up big, and finished third as a senior after being out with a serious rib injury (and not fully healed in time for the NCAA's).
  14. “I don’t care what the rulebook says." Apparently, or he would have been more knowledgeable of the rules and his kids would have known not to do it.
  15. Blair is becoming Florida North. They have five wrestlers from Florida, with four of them in the quarterfinals.
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