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USNA Wrestling Team Trains at Olympic Training Center

Posted on: September 13, 2013 08:00 EDT by MC1 Tony Spiker

After their summer training is done, most midshipmen take the opportunity to enjoy a few days of leave at home with their family and friends.  However, the members of the U.S. Naval Academy varsity wrestling team took the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

 “The more you expose yourself to the highest caliber of wrestlers, the more confidence you have that you can hang with them,“ said former Greco Roman national team coach and Naval Academy assistant coach Jay Antonelli.

The Navy squad returned three of its six national qualifiers from last year’s team that placed 5th at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association’s Conference Tournament and beat Army for the 13th year in a row. 

“That’s always the goal,” said Head Coach Bruce Burnett.  “Last year we wrestled past our expectations, and that’s what we hope to do again.”

By traveling to the Olympic Training Center to compete against the best wrestlers in the country, they took a big step toward that goal.

“By exposing them to that level of wrestling, it shows our guys that they can compete at the highest levels of the sport,” said Burnett. 

Midshipman 1st Class Joe Locksmith, a varsity wrestler who recently represented the United States at the University World Championships, hopes to use the experience to further his wrestling career.

 “When I graduate, I hope to get commissioned in the Marine Corps and join their wrestling team,” he said.

Aside from the obvious benefits to the wrestlers on the team, traveling to the OTC also helps benefit future squads. 

“By going out there, by competing for national teams, we can show future recruits that if they want to be a world champion or train to compete at the highest level of the sport, then that avenue is out there,” said Burnett. “It really is a way for them to extend their wrestling careers.”

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