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In high school, my junior year, I was determined to set the National fastest pin record that was always posted in whatever wrestling magazine our coach got in the late 90s. Anyway, I had a bunch of 6, 7, 8 second pins and my coach was mad because I wasn’t getting any work in and my method, whipping a head and arm off the whistle, wouldn’t get good kids. So he told me I could do it one more time and try and beat the record, it was 4 seconds held by another VA guy, junior national,  nationally ranked #1 HWT, Luke Owens from Grundy High School.

Ironically, my next match was in a Grundy tri-meet but not against a Golden Waver. As we shook hands, I looked at the ref and said “wait, I’m going to whip a headlock, flatten my hips, and he will be stuck in about 3 seconds, be ready”. My opponent, was truly confused and the ref just chuckled.

Whistle blows, I lunge and whip the headlock, flatten my hips, the guy is flat and I’m yelling “hit the mat!!!!”

The ref does, 4 seconds in! Afterwards, he apologizes and says that he was so stunned to react but that the guy was flat at 3 seconds. No big deal, I tied one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of high school wrestling!

however...my coach never submitted it to USA wrestling or Win or whatever it was. He said that was my punishment for taking the easy way out.

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11 minutes ago, HokieHWT said:

In high school, my junior year, I was determined to set the National fastest pin record that was always posted in whatever wrestling magazine our coach got in the late 90s. Anyway, I had a bunch of 6, 7, 8 second pins and my coach was mad because I wasn’t getting any work in and my method, whipping a head and arm off the whistle, wouldn’t get good kids. So he told me I could do it one more time and try and beat the record, it was 4 seconds held by another VA guy, junior national,  nationally ranked #1 HWT, Luke Owens from Grundy High School.

Ironically, my next match was in a Grundy tri-meet but not against a Golden Waver. As we shook hands, I looked at the ref and said “wait, I’m going to whip a headlock, flatten my hips, and he will be stuck in about 3 seconds, be ready”. My opponent, was truly confused and the ref just chuckled.

Whistle blows, I lunge and whip the headlock, flatten my hips, the guy is flat and I’m yelling “hit the mat!!!!”

The ref does, 4 seconds in! Afterwards, he apologizes and says that he was so stunned to react but that the guy was flat at 3 seconds. No big deal, I tied one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of high school wrestling!

however...my coach never submitted it to USA wrestling or Win or whatever it was. He said that was my punishment for taking the easy way out.

Sounds like some tough competition in VA in the late 90s!

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I know this is a cop-out, but man, I have too many to pick just one....going on 60 years in the sport!!!  I guess if I could lump something together, it would be attending all the high level competitions I've been at....closing in on 45 NCAA's, 30 Big Tens, 17 World Cups, Midland's and much more....all the friendships, memories, learning that takes place.....can't beat it.

Edited by fadzaev2

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My most vivid memory has little to do with success and everything to do with getting a reality check. Its not a great story, but I think about it often.

When I was a freshman, I was coming in as a guy with a ton of youth experience; a hope for the future of my schools wrestling program which hadn't been good in years. Unfortunately, I was in denial of the fact that I was immature and carrying a considerable amount of baby fat(that changed my sophomore year as I grew into my body and filled out considerable). Wrestling was my sport. I was known as the wrestler in my class and even as a freshman, I destroyed everyone in our wrestling room.

My very first match was coming up and we had to wrestle Emmetsburg; a local powerhouse at the time. I was optimistic despite the fact I had to wrestle Jacob Naig. If anybody followed Iowa high school wrestling at the time they knew who the Naig brothers were. Jacob had gone 3-1-3 at state freshman through junior year and now a senior(he would eventually win it again).

Match day comes and my coach asked me if I wanted to wrestle him. I thought that was ridiculous. Of course I wanted to wrestle him. This was my chance to make a statement. You see, I was very naive.

Match starts and right away I take this beautiful little stutter-step sweep single and get tight on Naig's leg only to have him sprawl, rotate, and cradle me up immediately and put me to my back. He didn't pin me, but had me teched midway through the 2nd period.

I had a lot of great moments in high school, college and even coaching at both of those levels, but for some reason this memory has stuck with me so clearly. Maybe because it was such a humbling moment and we can all use those from time to time.

 

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Watching Brandon Slay freight train double Joe Williams off the mat at the 2000 US National Open finals in Las Vegas.  He was the 7th seed and Joe was the 1999 World Team member.  This put Slay on everyone's radar (at least in the US) before his remarkable run in the 2000 Olympics.

Edited by jchapman

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Junior high school, match against our rival school whose team, to a man, was much better than us.  Part way through my match,
I'm predictably on my back desperately arching to avoid the pin.  I'm looking at the sideline where their cheerleaders were, and
I see the girl who had a crush on me in 5th and 6th grades (we were in a Rapid Learners program for those two years), and she's
screaming "PIN HIM!  PIN HIM!"

For the record, I did not get pinned.  Also for the record, we just had a 50th reunion with our 6th grade teacher, and it was very nice
to see Lisa and the others again.

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1 hour ago, jchapman said:

Sounds like some tough competition in VA in the late 90s!

No doubt! Kid was from Tazewell HS, which we all know is known for their brawlers.

In all seriousness if you weren’t from Grundy, Turner Ashby, Poqouson, Great Bridge or some of  the 757 teams, you weren’t winning out of state.

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Another one that @Drake_Mallard just reminded me of. We had a 103lber my senior year who weighed about 90lbs. He was a 13 year old super genius who ran cross country and we recruited him so we didn’t have to forfeit the weight.

His first match, ever, in his life, with three weeks training, was against Blake Frost from Christiansburg who had won a state title the year before and had a super aggressive style. Anyway they get going, 30 seconds into the match, Frost scoops him up, drops him on his shoulder/arm and pins him. Our guy gets up, shakes his hand and comes over to our coach and says, calmly, “coach, I do believe that I have broken both my clavicle and humerus”

Coach : “ummm, I don’t think so, you’d be screaming right now”

Thomas: “you are correct, however, my mother is in attendance and I feel that an uncharacteristic outburst of emotion, may cause her distress”

Coach: “....”

Thomas: “I’m going to remove myself and go discuss this further with the trainer of athletes”

Coach: “ummm, ok bud”

Turns out, he was spot on. Both his humerus and collarbone were snapped directly in two. He had emergency surgery to put plates in. The x-rays were like something I had never seen before, looked like someone sawed them both in half.

He’s now a Harvard med professor.

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7 minutes ago, HokieHWT said:

Another one that @Drake_Mallard just reminded me of. We had a 103lber my senior year who weighed about 90lbs. He was a 13 year old super genius who ran cross country and we recruited him so we didn’t have to forfeit the weight.

His first match, ever, in his life, with three weeks training, was against Blake Frost from Christiansburg who had won a state title the year before and had a super aggressive style. Anyway they get going, 30 seconds into the match, Frost scoops him up, drops him on his shoulder/arm and pins him. Our guy gets up, shakes his hand and comes over to our coach and says, calmly, “coach, I do believe that I have broken both my clavicle and humerus”

Coach : “ummm, I don’t think so, you’d be screaming right now”

Thomas: “you are correct, however, my mother is in attendance and I feel that an uncharacteristic outburst of emotion, may cause her distress”

Coach: “....”

Thomas: “I’m going to remove myself and go discuss this further with the trainer of athletes”

Coach: “ummm, ok bud”

Turns out, he was spot on. Both his humerus and collarbone were snapped directly in two. He had emergency surgery to put plates in. The x-rays were like something I had never seen before, looked like someone sawed them both in half.

He’s now a Harvard med professor.

That is on your coach for feeding him to a lion like that.  Wow, he must have had incredible pain tolerance, or was really scared of his mother.

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57 minutes ago, jchapman said:

That is on your coach for feeding him to a lion like that.  Wow, he must have had incredible pain tolerance, or was really scared of his mother.

He was tough as nails for sure. He was just a nice, quiet, polite kid, I truly believe he didn’t want to upset his mother, as in make her sad/worried.
 

For the record, our coach was an ass. I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. He told the entire team to gang up on me, throw me in a closet and beat me for getting in school suspension and missing a match. I was a senior, my best friends were on the team, they told me, I asked him why doesn’t HE try to throw me in a closet and beat me.

By the end of my senior year I had asked a teammates dad, who was a college wrestler and actually knew what he was talking about, to sit in my corner.

I didn’t learn until I landed at VT, at my first one on one session with Wirnsy, that I lead with the wrong leg. I had only started as a sophomore in HS and my coach never either a) noticed or b) cared. My first year was basically learning how to wrestle.

Edited by HokieHWT

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3 minutes ago, HokieHWT said:

He was tough as nails for sure. He was just a nice, quiet, polite kid, I truly believe he didn’t want to upset his mother, as in make her sad/worried.
 

For the record, our coach was an ass. I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. He told the entire team to gang up on me, throw me in a closet and beat me for getting in school suspension and missing a match. I was a senior, my best friends were on the team, they told me, I asked him why doesn’t HE try to throw me in a closet and beat me.

By the end of my senior year I had asked a teammates dad, who was a college wrestler and actually knew what he was talking about, to sit in my corner.

I didn’t learn until I landed at VT, at my first one on one session with Wirnsy, that I lead with the wrong leg. I had only started as a sophomore in HS and my coach never either a) noticed or b) cared. My first year was basically learning how to wrestle.

Wow, this is incredible.  Glad you stuck with it.

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Fargo 2018 and the only other team in our hotel was Wyoming.  We are at a hotel breakfast of powdered eggs and rubber bacon, gathering to leave with the cadets for a practice facility, although it may have been for a weigh in, I don't recall which.  Rulon Gardner is there with some of the Wyoming boys.  I let our dudes know who it was, and they were familiar with his popular wrestling shoe, but their understanding of the man and his accomplishments was hazy at best.  It occurred to me that these U15 athletes were no older than -3 years old when Rulon made his lasting impression on me and most of the sporting world for the first time.

I felt an immediate internal struggle.  You see, I preach not being a fanboy and putting no man on a pedastal.  This may sound corny, but I feared speaking too much about being in the presence of our greatest Greco -Roman wrestler was a bad idea.  I was thinking if one of our boys hit Wyoming in the course of the tournament, I would have placed my athlete at a  psychological disadvantage.  I am glad a more holistic view won out in my brain.  The opportunity for these young men was too good for me to just leave it on the table for them.

 "Hey Rulon, can you tell my guys a story about one of your trips overseas?"

 I was annoyed with myself for bothering the man, but Rulon started talking to my guys with genuine interest in their attention. He focused on his world title in Greece in 2001.  I was in awe and thrilled on a personal level to hear about a journey with which I was less familiar than his impossible feat in 2000.  Plus, I had a comprehensive understanding of the victory in Sydney, so I knew I could fill in that blank for our cadets on the van ride to the dome.

I don't remember the details about the Greece story.  I remember the faces of my wide-eyed cadets, hanging on every word.  And I remember Rulon, yielding to a request he probably gets on a daily basis, telling stories with total enthusiasm and joy.  He certainly made the kids day and made my summer. 

Just like that it was time to go.  I never got to thank Rulon, except for a brief thanks as we headed to the vans.  I hope I get to someday.

Edited by JHRoseWrestling
Typo

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This is My story that I remember like it was yesterday...  back in my junior year Morristown HS (NJ) in January 1973.

Wrestling @ 115 lbs, a dual at home against Columbia HS. Warming up during the 106 lbs bout, I saw my opponent stalking behind the Columbia bench staring me down, giving me the stink-eye and all. He was a senior (remembered his name as well ), named Russell Crockett (really!) Wound up qualifying for the regions later on in the season, after coming in 2nd in his district.

So, my match comes up with him. I jogged over to the mat center with the ref. Crockett, shot out of a cannon, flies right to the center and smacks his face two or three times and stares at me like he would rip me open.

Smacked his face, two or three times eh?

All I could remember, was an old aftershave commercial (Mennen Skin Bracer?), upon seeing that.

I replied, " Thanks, I needed that."

Apparently, he failed to see the humor in that. (dunno why... )

In the next 30 second after the refs whistle, he did freight trained me w/ a TD and put me on the back for a quick 2 NF.

Fortunately, I recovered quickly enough to pull out a relatively comfortable 9-6 win after the dust settled out.

Amazing... I left the witty quips to myself after that! ;-P

David D. Day aka D3 for LU

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My son (Rob Allison-Missouri) started wrestling at age 12.  He was good enough to qualify for the Missouri Team to wrestle in Dallas his first year of freestyle and greco.  His first freestyle match was against Temoer Terry (Nebraska 3-time All American).    All the guys on the Mizzou team were telling Rob how good Temoer was when one of the mothers looked up from reading her book.  She told the boys that if Temoer hadn't lost in XX number of matches, then he hadn't travelled far enough from home.

Very wise mother!   Although Temoer dominated the match, it was a good lesson for my son and the other boys from Missouri.

 

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On 10/3/2020 at 1:25 PM, gallison said:

My son (Rob Allison-Missouri) started wrestling at age 12.  He was good enough to qualify for the Missouri Team to wrestle in Dallas his first year of freestyle and greco.  His first freestyle match was against Temoer Terry (Nebraska 3-time All American).    All the guys on the Mizzou team were telling Rob how good Temoer was when one of the mothers looked up from reading her book.  She told the boys that if Temoer hadn't lost in XX number of matches, then he hadn't travelled far enough from home.

Very wise mother!   Although Temoer dominated the match, it was a good lesson for my son and the other boys from Missouri.

 

I love all of these stories. Temoer is a great guy, I met him a few years back and have kept in touch with him. 

I only wrestled one day in my life, when I was in second grade. The third grade teacher at our elementary school had a son who was a senior in high school and he came into our gym class and taught us some wrestling moves and we got to each wrestle three matches. I went 2-1 that day then retired from wrestling. The senior who taught us that day was Mark Reiland. I don't remember if he had the sweet mullet that day, but he ended up having a pretty nice career. 

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Wrestling in a junior college tournament at Lassen College in California in 1998-99 season.

In the middle of the tournament when all the mats were going, the power goes out in the gym and everything goes black. 

The wrestlers and refs all pause. 

After a few stunned seconds, people in the crowd started yelling all sorts of funny stuff. 

"Shoot! Shoot!"

"That's two, ref! That's two!"

"Are you blind, ref? He's pinned!"

Everyone in the crowd was busting up laughing. It was an awesome moment of spontaneous unified levity.

The power outage didn't last long and the tournament resumed. The end. 

Edited by Return of Aztec

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My 8th grade year I was at a national tournament...it was the first time on the big stage after placing second at our state freestyle tournament...I was super pumped...got to walk out with all the wrestlers from my state for a march of champions type thing...had goosebumps...anyway my first match was against some wimpy kid named Brandon Paulson...pfff...never heard of him and he didn't look like much...I was pretty confident going into the match considering I just took second place at state freestyle...that's right...SECOND!  So the ref blows the whistle and I am stalking my prey...just waiting for my opening to attack...there it was and I went for it...when I opened my eyes 15 seconds later it was to lift myself off the matt to shake hands after get rag-dolled for a techfall...back then it was 15 points in freestyle.  I am pretty sure he may...may...have started to sweat...if nothing else he was breathing heavy...or normal...either way I am sure he remembers the fight I put up...he probably still tells that story to all his fellow Olympic medal wearing buddies...by the way please don't tell him I called him wimpy...yikes....

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I went to high school in Virginia. My senior year, at the Grundy tri-meet, our heavy-weight was out sick and our coach asked if I would be willing to bump up 4 weight classes and wrestler heavy weight.  He asked that I just try to keep from being pinned. I agreed knowing the guy I was going to face had a bunch of 6, 7, 8 second pins. 

As we shook hands, my opponent looked at the ref and mumbled something. All I could hear was something about a headlock. I was confused and the ref just chuckled.

Whistle blows, and I’m still trying to figure out what was going on. My opponent lunged forward, whipped me down with a headlock, flatten his hips, and I was flat on my back.  All I remember is my opponent yelling “hit the mat!!!!”

I was pinned in about 4 seconds  

I often wonder what happened to my opponent.  I’m guessing he’s like the guy in Glory Days. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Maximus Meridius said:

I went to high school in Virginia. My senior year, at the Grundy tri-meet, our heavy-weight was out sick and our coach asked if I would be willing to bump up 4 weight classes and wrestler heavy weight.  He asked that I just try to keep from being pinned. I agreed knowing the guy I was going to face had a bunch of 6, 7, 8 second pins. 

As we shook hands, my opponent looked at the ref and mumbled something. All I could hear was something about a headlock. I was confused and the ref just chuckled.

Whistle blows, and I’m still trying to figure out what was going on. My opponent lunged forward, whipped me down with a headlock, flatten his hips, and I was flat on my back.  All I remember is my opponent yelling “hit the mat!!!!”

I was pinned in about 4 seconds  

I often wonder what happened to my opponent.  I’m guessing he’s like the guy in Glory Days. 

 

HokieHWT approves this post. Bwahahaha...

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Since a number of people posted stories about Grundy, VA- I may as well add one too.

I grew up in Central PA and wrestled in the late 80s...after placing in the AAA States as a freshman I got a phone call from Wade Schalles asking me if I wanted to join him in Grundy for a camp in June to work as a counselor and train. I was preparing for Cadet and Junior Nationals, so I figured it would a great opportunity. Plus, how many high school kids get a call from Wondrous Wade to work one of his camps?

Wade had Red Robertson, the brains behind the Grundy wrestling machine fly me and a few other Central PA wrestlers to Virginia for the week. The Bunn family put us up in their guest house- yes, a guest house in Grundy. Their son Jimmy was about my size and a pretty good wrestler. The camp was fun; I got to teach a little wrestling and wrestle against some of the best AA wrestlers in Virginia. They were good, but nothing special. Jimmy and his family were awesome- very friendly and cordial to us Yankees for the week and pretty much let us do whatever we wanted.

Fast forward one year: I'm in Warrensburg, MO for the Cadet National Greco tournament as a second year Cadet. I won Cadet Nationals in Greco the year before and was looking to repeat. Upon checking the bracket to see who my first round opponent was going to be- I noticed a familiar name: Jimmy Bunn from Virginia. I was going to have to wrestle my first match at Cadet Nationals against the son of my Grundy host who was nothing but kind to me and my buddies from PA. Jimmy was not much of a Greco wrestler, but I figured he was going to be a pretty tough first match. Forty seconds after the whistle blew to start the match, I got my hand raised- tech falling Jimmy Bun 16-0 off a takedown and three consecutive reverse lifts for five.

Jimmy Bunn was a little shell shocked after getting tossed on his head a few times, but came over to congratulate me on the match. I legitimately felt bad for beating the crap out of him because he was such a nice guy and showed us southern hospitality the year before. I apologized and thanked him again for being so nice the previous year. It was one the few times I really felt bad for kicking the crap out of an opponent on the mat.

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I, like Fadzaev, have too many stories to tell (45 NCAAs straight, multiple Big Tens, Midlands, 20 Worlds, 5 Olympics, etc), but one short one that was hilarious to witness occurred in Budapest in either 85 or 86 (Worlds were held there both years). The heavyweight match ended in controversy with the Iranian wrestler on the losing end; finally after arguing, the call was confirmed. The referee positioned the 2 wrestler's in the normal end-of-match placement, but before he could raise the winner's hand the Iranian grabbed the ref's hand and held it up. For his upstaging FILA in such a blatant act of disrespect, the Iranian was banished for 2 years from any competition. But it was too funny.

 

Edited by fullnelson
omitted comma

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I'll regale one from my Sr year in HS. The nemesis my Sr year was a kid from Jay that I'll refer to as "Tim". He was a big kid (I was at 182 pounds and was visibly smaller, but I had thicker legs). Tim finished his HS career as a 3 time state runnerup in Oklahoma and was a runnerup from the previous year. The first time I wrestled him I was disqualified at an open tournament in Oolagah because my dad stepped onto the mat to argue a call with the referee, which was a shame because I'd beaten 3 pretty good kids to get to the semifinals. I think he was leading me 2-1 at the time of the disqualification. 

The second time I wrestled Tim was in the finals of the Wagoner Tournament. Tim was abusing me pretty good on the mat. He'd taken me down a couple times in the first period (once off a bad shot by myself) and rode me out, so it was 4-1 after one period. Tim chose down, and he escaped and he got a takedown off another poor shot by me, and I'd gotten away right before the buzzer. I went into the last period trailing 7-2. I was on bottom.  He rode me for a good bit, got his heels in for awhile, but I was a pretty squirrelly dude. I managed to hit a nice reversal with about 40-45 seconds left in the match and ended up in a great position to put a half-nelson on him. I slammed him over and gave him a little special attention. He started bridging. I had my head close to the mat and I pulled up on his head and put every ounce of weight and muscle I could into it. His thick bullneck was creaking. I observed his shoulder blades the whole time. They were 1/8" off the mat for at least 25-30 seconds. The crowd was going insane, usually I was deaf to the world while on the mat, but it was roaring. And finally, bam, his shoulder blades touched simultaneously. I turned my head and looked at the referee....nothing. 3 seconds later the buzzer went off. A rolled up towel hit me in the back of the head. I sat up, then Tim, wide-eyed, sat up, incredulous that the ref hadn't slapped the mat. I was awarded 3 nearfall points and the score was 7-7. The referee went to the scorer's table and came back out and raised Tim's hand. I saw he'd gotten a riding time point and the final score was 8-7. I leaned over and put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath. When I stood up the crowd went crazy. As we walked off the mat Tim tapped me on my shoulder and said "How much do you bench press?". I replied "285 pounds". He stared at me, clearly disappointed, and said "oh, that's pretty good".

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