NMU-OTS Greco-Roman wrestlers named top five

Katie Bultman

USA Wrestling at teamusa.org released their most recent senior Greco-Roman rankings on Thursday, April 10, and four members of the United States Olympic Training Site at Northern Michigan University made the list of top-five contenders.

Head coach Rob Hermann said the wrestlers are on the mat six days a week with two weight lifting days and some cross training.

“Our room is mixed with experience and youth,” Hermann said. “So having four in the top five is no surprise.”

In the 66kg/145.5lb weight class, senior English major Thrasher Porcher was ranked No. 4. Porcher is a 5-foot-8 wrestler from Chuluota, Fla. This season, he placed second at the NYAC Holiday International Open in New York City and first in the NMU-OTS vs All-Navy in Marquette.

Porcher said, depending on the year, the only wrestler to make the World or Olympic team is the one ranked at the top.

“Fourth is cute I guess,” Porcher said. “Only the No. 1-guy makes the team, so that is always the goal. Anything less is unacceptable.”

Moving up to the 71kg/156lb weight class, NMU-OTS junior Anthonie Linares of San Jose, Calif., was ranked fifth overall. Linares, a physical education major, is in his first year at the training site. This season he placed sixth at the Dave Schultz International in Colorado Springs, Colo. Prior, Linares had been a four-time All-American at the Fargo National Championships in Fargo, N.D.

Curt Calovecchi of Marquette, Mich. is ranked highest of the athletes training at NMU, at No. 3 in the 80kg/176lb weight class. The 5-foot-10 undeclared freshman is in his first season with the NMU-OTS. This season, Calovecchi has taken two fourth place finishes in both the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Minnesota Storm Holiday Classic in Rochester, Minn.

Calovecchi said his training in preparation has consisted of some very tough weeks of wrestling, running and lifting. Last week the team cut back on practice time for recovery purposes.

“Training every day in the room with many of the best wrestlers and coaches in the country is what helped prepare me,” Calovecchi said.

Senior English/journalism major Toby Erickson was ranked No. 5 in the men’s 130kg/286.5lb weight class. Erickson is from East Helena, Mont., and is in his third year with the NMU-OTS. The 6-foot-3 wrestler last competed at the training site in the 2012-13 season.

The men are currently in Las Vegas, Nev., this weekend to compete in the Las Vegas International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles Junior Nationals on Thursday, April 17.

Calovecchi said his current ranking doesn’t mean much just yet.

“It’s nice to see the ranking and get recognition, but the rankings don’t mean too much,” Calovecchi said. “Winning matches and placing at Nationals and trials is what matters.”

The men will also compete in the U.S. Senior Open on Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20.

“I would very much like to leave this tournament with all of my teeth,” Porcher said. “The hillbilly look gets old, and fake teeth are getting expensive.”