NLWC Members and Supporters
The Club is conducting a series of NLWC Wrestler interviews that will be posted every 2-3 days!
This interview is with Kyle Snyder. The former Ohio State wrestler had a spectacular collegiate career, winning three NCAA titles, and he has also had an outstanding international career, capturing both World and Olympic Gold Medals!
Q: I think most of our Club members are familiar with your Ohio State and international freestyle careers. However, could you please talk a little about where you're from, your family, and your wrestling journey from when you first started until you went to college?
A: I am from Woodbine, MD. I have an older brother named Steve who wrestled at West Point. My little brother Kevin wrestled at Ohio State. My little sister Megan goes to school at Towson University and wants to be an elementary school teacher. I started wrestling when I was 5 years old. I have always been aggressive, physical, and competitive. My parents thought that wrestling would be a good sport for me. I went to Good counsel high school for 3 years and I moved to Colorado Springs to train at the Olympic training center. I completed my high school for my last year of high school requirements at Coronado High School
Q: In many ways, these are unusual and tough times...for wrestlers focused on winning Olympic Gold Medals as well as for those people facing lost jobs or income, sickness, etc. When I think of wrestlers who have a positive outlook and are quite capable of handling any adversity that comes their way, you're at the top of the list. Could you provide some insight on your approach?
A: My faith is what allows me to navigate situations in a positive way. I always remind myself of two facts. The first is that God is love. The second is that God is in control. With this in my mind, I know that everything that happens to me is for my benefit and it is to mature my faith in Christ. I don't believe in chance. I believe that God has a very specific plan and He has been executing it perfectly since the beginning of creation. I believe everything that happens to His children is for their good. I read different stories in the Bible of the apostles being thrown and jail and beaten, yet they say they can continually rejoice because they know God is growing them in all these situations. If something isn't going the way that I want it too, then I know it is going the way God wants it too and I would rather His will be done.
Q: With the support of USA Wrestling, Olympic Regional Training Centers (RTC's) have become an important factor in the growth and development of the U.S.'s top wrestlers. The NLWC has made support of the Club's RTC a top priority, and both coaches and donors have made a commitment to providing a environment where the Club's wrestlers are provided with an opportunity to chase their dreams. Do you have any thoughts on what this support means for the wrestlers who have goals of being World and Olympic Champions?
A: As a NLWC athlete, my only focus is on training and competing. Without the support of all the NLWC donors, it would be very difficult for this to be possible. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to believe that everyone is working toward that same common goal. Because of everyone's generosity, I know that we have the greatest resources available to prepare us to win world and Olympic titles.
Q: Wrestling is a combat sport, and wrestling matches are true one-on-one battles to determine a winner. At the same time, there is no question that wrestling brings people together. In NLWC practices, there are wrestlers from different states, different colleges, different ethnic backgrounds, and often many different countries. The list could go on and on. Yet, everyone seems to get along and even go out of his/her way to provide encouragement and help one another. What do you attribute this collegian atmosphere to?
A: I attribute this to the leaders of the NLWC. It starts with the way that they communicate and the type of people they bring into the club. Coach Cael, Casey, Cody, and Varner are great leaders. They love what they do and are always looking for the best way to help all of us. This attitude has spread throughout the whole club. It is really easy to focus on benefitting other people when you know that you are already taken care of. The leaders make sure all the athletes are taken care of and I believe that allows all of us to focus on helping each other. I want my teammates to win and be the best in the world.
Q: When you won an Gold Medal in 2016, you became the youngest Olympic Gold Medalist in American wrestling history. When you were on top of the podium and the National Anthem was playing, what was going through your mind at that moment?
A: Every time I'm on the podium I thank God for everything that happened throughout the day. I thanked Him for being with me during the tournament and I thanked Him for everyone He put in my life that helped me get to that point. I also remember thinking about my older brother who wasn't able to be at the Olympics because he serves in the army. I have always looked up to him and know he played a huge role in the way that I compete.
Q: Do you have any interesting wrestling stories or memories you would be willing to share with the NLWC membership?
A: At the 2015 world championships, I had 3 pennies left over after buying some food. I looked over to my roommate and said that I am going to throw all these up in the air and if they come down on heads then I will win the worlds tomorrow. I threw them up in the air and they all came down on tails. I was like dang... I hope this isn't foreshadowing how the wrestling is going to go. It turns out that the pennies didn't have any impact on how I competed.
Was planning to move on the from the dodgeball question, but we better get your take on it since the importance of dodgeball in determining wrestling success is unquestioned.
Q: What was your initial impression from your first NLWC dodgeball game?
A: I immediately recognized there was some strong alliances between players and the quality of play was high. It's also a high intensity environment. Takes a couple games to follow know where both balls are at.
Q: When that moment occurs that someone has the ball and is targeting you, are you more likely to jump, duck, or go for the catch? Why? Or maybe this is giving away too much strategy?
A: Depends on what style of dodgeball we are playing. In partner dodge you got to be aware of the amount of players left in and if your teammate is up or not. For the most part I try and catch the ball because the risk is worth the reward. I've got pretty good hands so I catch a lot of them... especially if Manville throws it at me....
Q: If you have the ball in hand and an opponent dead to rights a couple feet away, do you go a little easy, show no mercy, or does it depend on the opponent?
A. I usually go pretty easy. I've gotten in trouble with that approach a couple times. I've got to get better at throwing at their feet and not their chest in those situations.
Q: I know you're training for wrestling while in quarantine. Are you also spending some extra time developing your dodgeball skills?
A: Rest and recovery is as important as the training. I've been resting my shoulder. Spending some time to do some extra upper body mobility. Working on throwing with my off hand. I've also been staying in contact with most of the top players. Those alliances need to be strong when we return.
Off the Mat
Q: What is your favorite saying(s)?
A: I love sayings. One of my favorites right now is "Who can't?!". Meaning that I or the person that I am talking to can do anything if we believe it.
Q: What food is your go-to snack?
A: Pre NLWC nutrition plan, I would say cereal. Now, it is an apple or pumpkin seeds.
Q: Who are your real-life heroes? Why?
A: My parents are my heroes because they always tell me the truth and put my best interests in front of their own. My Poppop and Grandma are my heroes because they always believed in me. Don Frederich and Neil Serafenas are my heroes because of the way they live out their faith.
Q: Any hobbies?
A: I like to compete in anything. I like ping pong. I like learning about leadership. I love to study the Bible and goto bible studies. I really do enjoy training and wrestling though. It is one of my favorite things to do.
Q: What's the best advice you've ever received?
A: To follow the Lord with 100% commitment and to be focused on His will in everything that I think/say/do.
Zain Retherford (65kg) and Kyle Snyder (97kg) both earned bronze medals at the Matteo Pellicone International in Rome, Italy over the weekend.
Zain lost his first match to 2018 World silver medalist and 2019 World bronze medalist Bajrang Bajrang of India by a score of 4-5 before wrestling back with a 10-5 win over Joey McKenna of the U.S. To take the bronze, Zain earned a fall in 4:41 over 2015 World bronze medalist Vasyl Shuptar of Ukraine.
Kyle had wins over Iliskhan Chilayev of Kazakhstan, 10-0 and Ibrahim Bolukbasi of Turkey, 12-4 before losing to Mohammadhossein Mohammadian of Iran. Kyle wrestled back for the bronze with a default win over teammate Bo Nickal and 12-1 decision over 2018 World bronze medalist Abraham Conyedo of Italy.
Franklin Gomez and Bo Nickal also competed and had several wins but fell short of earning medals.
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Resident Athlete Bo Nickal dominated the 92 kg weight class on his way to a World title at the U23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary!
Bo won by technical fall, 12-2, over returning U23 World Bronze Medalist Hossein Shahbazigazvar of Iran in his first match and followed that with a fall in 1:13 over Takumi Tanizaki of Japan in his second match.
In the semis against the returning U23 World Champion, Bo completely controlled the match in a 9-1 victory.
In the finals, Bo scored a 12-2 technical fall over Batyrbek Tsakulov of Russia who was a seventh place finisher at the 2018 Senior World Championships!
Collegian Brady Berge (74 kg) dropped a 1-5 decision to Razambek Zhamalov of Russia in the first round. Zhamalov advanced to the finals pulling Brady back into repechage, but Brady suffered an injury and was unable to advance to the bronze medal match.
World Championships Preview
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Resident Athletes Zain Retherford (65 kg/145 lbs.), Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (74 kg/163 lbs. for Uzbekistan), Franklin Gomez (74 kg/163 lbs. for Puerto Rico), and Jaime Espinal (86 kg/189 lbs. for Puerto Rico) will be competing next week at the Senior World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
The competition takes place all week, starting with Greco-Roman, moving on to Women's Wrestling, and ending with Freestyle Wrestling. In preliminary round action, Zain will wrestle at 1 a.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 19; Bekzod and Franklin will wrestle at 1 a.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 20; and Jaime will wrestle at 1 a.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 21. Detailed schedule is below.
World Championships Details
Visit themat.com (USA Wrestling website) for information on the wrestlers competing for Team USA, a 2019 Senior World Championships Special Section with weight class previews, and access to a World Championships Fan and Media Guide.
Watching the World Championships
To watch the action Live or On-demand, visit trackwrestling.com. The cost is $29.95.
World Championships Schedule (local time in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan)
*Nur-Sultan is 10 hours ahead of Eastern time
Saturday, Sept. 14
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (GR 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg, 82kg)
6:00 p.m. - Semifinals (55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg)
Sunday, Sept. 15
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (GR 67 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (GR 55 kg, 62 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Semifinals (GR 67 kg 87 kg, 97 kg)
7:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (GR 55 kg, 62 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg)
Monday, Sept. 16
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (GR 60 kg, 77 kg, 130 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (GR 67 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg)
5:00 p.m. - Semifinals (GR 60 kg, 77 kg, 130 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (GR 67 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg)
Tuesday, Sept. 17
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (WFS 50 kg, 53 kg, 55 kg, 72 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (GR 60 kg, 77 kg, 130 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals (WFS 50 kg, 53 kg, 55 kg, 72 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (GR 60 kg, 77 kg, 130 kg)
Wednesday, Sept. 18
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (WFS 57 kg, 59 kg, 65 kg, 76 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (WFS 50 kg, 53 kg, 55 kg, 72 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals (WFS 57 kg, 59 kg, 65 kg, 76 kg)
6: 00 p.m. - Medal Matches (WFS 50 kg, 53 kg, 55 kg, 72 kg)
Thursday, Sept 19
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (WFS 62 kg, 68 kg)
11: 00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (MFS 57 kg, 65 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (WFS 57 kg, 59 kg, 65 kg, 76 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals ( WFS 62 kg, 68 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals (MFS 57 kg, 65 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (WFS 57 kg, 59 kg, 65 kg, 76 kg)
Friday, Sept 20
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (MFS 70 kg, 74 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (WFS 62 kg, 68 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (MFS 57 kg ,65 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals (MFS 70 kg, 74 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (WFS 62 kg, 68 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches (MFS 57 kg, 65 kg)
Saturday, Sept. 21
11:00 a.m. - Preliminary Round (MFS 61 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg)
11:00 a.m. - Repechage (MFS 70 kg, 74 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg)
4:45 p.m. - Semifinals (MFS 61 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg)
6: 00 p.m. - Medal Matches (MFS 70 kg, 74 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg)
Sunday, Sept. 22
3:30 p.m. - Repechage (MFS 61 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg)
6:00 p.m. - Medal Matches ( MFS 61 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg)
Good luck Zain, Bekzod, Franklin, Jaime, and Team USA!!!
The World Team Trials Challenge Tournament took place this weekend in Raleigh, NC. In this tournament, the top wrestlers in the U.S. competed for a spot in the Final X later this summer. The winners of the Final X will represent the U.S. at the 2019 World Championships.
Zain Retherford (65 kg) scored two 7-6 victories over former 2X NCAA Champion and multiple time U.S. National team member Jordan Oliver to win the best of three finals at the World Team Trials Tournament. On his was to the finals Zain defeated former NCAA Champ Dean Heil by technical fall and earned a hard fought victory over former Olympian and teammate Frank Molinaro.
Bo Nickal (92 kg) had a bye to the best of three finals after his U.S. Open Title last month. Bo defeated NCAA Champion Michael Macchiavello by scores of 10-0 and 5-0 to win the title.
Ben Provisor (87 kg) dominated in three straight matches to win the Greco-Roman Challenge Tournament and then defeated Patrick Martinez by scores of 1-1 criteria and 3-1 to win the best of three finals.
Several Other NLWC Wrestlers also had Fine Performances
Competing for the first time up a weight at 74 kg, Jason Nolf won the challenge tournament before dropping the final match in the best of three series. Mason Manville, competing in Greco at 77 kg had three straight victories before losing in the best of three finals. Roman Bravo-Young (61 kg) finished second in the Junior Freestyle challenge tournament while Mark Hall (79 kg) also earned a silver. Josh Rodriguez (57 kg) and Riley Lefever (92 kg) both earned third place with Josh defeating 2019 NCAA runner-up Jack Mueller, 11-8, and Riley tech falling 2019 NCAA runner-up Kollin Moore in their bronze medal matches. Jarod Verkleeren, Geno Morelli (79 kg) and Nick Nevills (125 kg) wrestled but fell short of placing.
Former NLWC wrestlers Nico Megaludis, Frank Molinaro, and Dan Vallimont also competed. Both Nico and Frank had outstanding tournaments, finishing true 2nd in their weight classes.
NLWC wrestlers Mark Hall (79 kg) and Nick Nevills (125 kg) won the Last Chance World Team Trials Qualifier yesterday and are now qualified to compete at the U.S. World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Raleigh, NC.
On his way to gold, Mark scored four straight technical falls by 10-0 scores, not giving up a single point in the tournament. Nick scored three straight technical falls to win the the title.
Mark and Nick now join a large group of NLWC wrestlers who will be competing at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, May 16-19.
Pictured above L-R
Nick Nevills, Eric Thompson, Mark McKnight, & Mark Hall
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Olympic Regional Training Center and Penn State Wrestling Coach Casey Cunningham was recently announced as the winner of the prestigious 2018 Terry McCann Award as USA Wrestling Freestyle Coach of the Year. The NLWC would like to thank Coach Cunningham for all of the time and effort he has put into developing the Club's wrestlers. He has been instrumental in the development of the many, many NLWC wrestlers who have enjoyed tremendous success at both the National and International levels
The NLWC came away from the U.S. Open National Championships in Las Vegas this past weekend with one gold medalist, two silver medalists, three bronze medalists, two fifth place finishers, and one sixth place finisher. Club wrestlers suffered some very close, heart-breaking losses in the semifinals and finals, but overall, it was an outstanding showing!
Bo Nickal Wins Gold in Senior Freestyle
In his first competition since winning a 3rd NCAA Championship in March, Bo Nickal (92 kg) had an outstanding tournament, winning five straight matches to capture the gold. In the semi-finals, Bo defeated the 2018 197 lb. NCAA Champion, Mike Macchiavello (TMWC/Wolfpack WC) 14-4, and in the finals, he defeated 2018 U.S. World Team Trials finalist Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm) 13-3. This performance gives Bo a bye into the finals of the 2019 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. Congratulations Bo!!
Bringing Home Silver were Roman Bravo-Young in Junior Freestyle and Zain Retherford in Senior Freestyle
Roman Bravo Young (61kg) dominated in five straight wins, including a 12-1 decision in the semi-finals over 2018 NCAA All-American Pat Glory (NJRTC). Roman was winning 4-2 in a tough final's match before getting caught on his back in a scramble and pinned by Gabriel Tagg.
In what was probably the deepest and toughest weight class in the tournament, Zain Retherford (65 kg) had five straight dominating wins on his way to the finals. In a great match between two outstanding competitors, Zain led Yianni Diakomihalis 4-2 late in the match before giving up a couple scores and dropping a close 6-4 decision.
Jason Nolf Earns Bronze in Senior Freestyle while Mason Manville and Ben Provisor Earn Bronze in Senior Greco-Roman
Jason Nolf (70 kg) went 6-1 on the weekend with his only loss being a 6-6 criteria decision to 2X World Medalist James Green in the semi-finals. Both Mason Manville and Ben Provisor had fine tournaments on their way to bronze medals. Both lost in hard-fought matches in the semis but dominated in their other matches during the tournament.
Geno Morelli, Jarod Verkleeren, and Riley Lefever all placed to Qualify for the 2019 World Team Trials
Geno Morelli (79 kg) has been training at the NLWC's RTC while he works on his MBA at Penn State. The former top college wrestler had an outstanding tournament, finishing in 5th place in the Senior Freestyle. Jarod Verkleeren (67 kg) also had a fine tournament, finishing in 5th place in the Senior Greco-Roman division, while Riley Lefever (92 kg) who missed the entire 2018 season due to injury, continued his comeback and earned a 6th place finish in the Senior Freestyle Tournament.
BY TIM FOLEY, UWW | JAN. 01, 2019, 12:50 P.M. (ET)
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 1) - With the 2018 wrestling season officially at a close, United World Wrestling has awarded "Best Wrestler of the Year" honors to David TAYLOR (USA) for freestyle, Petra OLLI (FIN) for women's wrestling, and Peter BACSI (HUN) for Greco-Roman.
The award was based on the number of ranking points each of the wrestlers attained over the course of the 2018 season. A majority of points were earned at the world and continental championships, with additional points earned at a number of style-specific Ranking Series tournaments around the world.
For their efforts, Taylor, Olli and Bacsi each received a 10,000 CHF prize from United World Wrestling.
Taylor, the 86kg world champion in freestyle finished the season with 112 total ranking points. In addition to his world title Taylor took gold at 2018 Senior Pan-American championships, the Ivan Yariguin (Ranking Event), and the Yasar Dogu (Ranking Event). Taylor didn't lose a match all season.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to compete for the USA and represent the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club," said Taylor. "I wouldn't have been able to reach this point without my coaches, training partners, and the treigning lab. I'm honored to be the wrestler of the year and look forward to 2019!"
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Resident Athlete David Taylor (86 kg/189 lbs.) scored pins in all four matches to win a gold medal at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul, Turkey this weekend. This was a pre-World Championships ranking tournament, and David set himself up for a high seed at the upcoming World Championships in October.
In his first match, David pinned Azamat Dauletbekov of Kazakhstan in 4:37; in his second match, he pinned 2017 World silver medalist Boris Makoev of Slovakia in 3:50; in the semi-finals, it was a pin in 4:05 over Ahmet Bilici of Turkey; and in the finals, he decked 2017 European silver medalist Murad Suleymanov of Azerbaijan in 1:22.