NMU U.S. Olympic Training Site holds annual event

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Ryan Spitza

The Northern Michigan University U.S. Olympic Training Site held its annual Superior International Camp this week and ended at the Superior Dome Wednesday night with Team USA athletes competing against Team Sweden in exhibition competition.

“Every year we invite Sweden and some other countries to come and wrestle with our team,” said Mike Kaurala, operations manager of the U.S. Olympic Training Site.

Along with the NMU Greco-Roman wrestlers, the event consisted of seven invited Team USA wrestlers from various parts of the country, 13 athletes from Sweden, one athlete from Finland and one athlete from Canada.

This is the fourth year of the annual event that gives each athlete a chance to show what they’re capable of.

“It gives the athletes a good opportunity to get a lot of matches in,” Kaurala said. “It gives them more experience and a chance to learn from their mistakes and see what they’re good at and what they need to work on.”

The camp gives athletes a chance to wrestle multiple times per week, with wrestling occurring Monday through Thursday and actual matches taking place
Friday and Saturday.

“It gives our athletes more international experience and it’s also a great recruiting opportunity for us and for the university,” Kaurala said. “Every year we have some students from this camp enroll and come to Northern.”

Team Sweden pays for their trip to the United States and the U.S. Olympic Training Site pays their room and board fees for the camp. When the NMU athletes travel to Sweden, the same process occurs.

Trey Hardy is a freshman at NMU and in the U.S. Olympic Training Site.

“Since we mostly face American competition it’s nice to get a different field,” Hardy said. “The more different fields we get the better we get overall.”

As for the wrestling program itself, it’s still going strong according to Kaurala.

“The wrestling program is still going very strong,” Kaurala said. “It’s still very successful nationally and internationally and next semester it looks like we’ll have the largest student-athlete roster that we’ve had to date.”