Wrestlers head to Cuba for Tourney

Cody Boyer

Over the weekend, the USOEC Greco-Roman wrestlers travelled to Havana, Cuba to compete in the Gramma Cup, leaving with one wrestler placing in his event.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, the Greco wrestlers dueled against 11 other teams, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Panama and Argentina.

The USA team emerged from the competition with two medals, overall, nabbing a silver and a gold medal.

USOEC head coach Rob Hermann said the competition was a tough one for the traveling team and they came out of it with valuable lessons learned.

“With every loss and every win, we are always learning,” Hermann said. “The more we wrestle, the better that we become. Every time you can attend a training camp along with a tournament, it only enhances our training and our future.”

Competing for the Northern Michigan USOEC, sophomore Parker Betts wrestled in the 120-kilogram weight division.

Betts came out with a victory against Panama, taking fifth place. Betts was the only Northern Michigan USOEC athlete to place.

Betts said wrestling in Cuba presents many different challenges to the team, but the weekend revealed what they needed to do to prepare for the future.

“The competition in Cuba is always really tough,” Betts said. “The Cuba guys are really tough, and the whole competition is really difficult, especially with all a majority of the other competitors coming into it with medals.”

Next week, the Greco wrestlers will be returning home to train with the U.S. All-Navy Greco-Roman wrestling team.

The USOEC athletes will be training with the All-Navy team as they prepare for the Armed Forces Wrestling Championships.

The Championships will take place on Saturday, March 16 on the McGuire AFB in New Jersey.

The Greco wrestlers will also be holding a dual meet with the All-Navy team at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Vandament Arena at NMU.

The event is free-of-charge to the public.

Hermann said the team is looking ahead with good resolve, and the focus is aimed at increasing their skill and experience in the competitions to come.

“Win or lose, we will come back as better wrestlers,” Hermann said. “It is definitely a process. Everyone has to pay their dues.”