Apr 1990: Freestyle All-American

I won the Tri-State Open freestyle tournament in Ft. Madison last weekend. I wrestled at 125.5. It was scratch weight, and I wasn't quite ready to make 114.5 again yet. I tech-falled all 3 of my opponents. I think they were all from Division III schools--Augustana, I don't remember the other two.

That was my final tournament before freestyle Nationals. It felt good to win. I've won 2 tournaments in a row. I'm 30-8 on the season.

I'm in a bad mood. I'd be in a better mood if I'd weighed out at 123 tonight and had beaten Zaputil handily, and a few other things. I weighed out at 129.3, Zaputil beat me handily, Jenny and I are arguing, I'm sick of my roommate Mike, I'm sick of living in this pit of an apartment, I'm sick of this stupid f---ing town, I'm sick of graduate history classes, I'm sick of the wrestlers, I'm sick of wrestling.

Jenny wants a normal life. I want an extraordinary life. I don't even know what that means. I don't know what I want.

I know what I don't want:

I don't want to live in suburban Cleveland and have a mustache and sell stereos at Best Buy. I don't want my house cluttered with garage sale bric-a-brac, with ceramic figurines and antique dolls and those stupid arts-and-crafts cloth rabbits with the ears that don't stand up.

I don't want refrigerator magnets shaped like fruit, and I don't want a kitchen memo board that says "Bless This Mess," or a hot plate that says "May the Road Rise to Meet You" (whatever the f--- that means). I don't ever want to get so comfortable or complacent that I have to sigh and say, "This is it--the best I can do now is keep the lawn mowed."

I don't want a normal life.

Why couldn't I score a f---ing takedown on Zaputil?

It's Monday. I have to weigh 114.5 by Wednesday evening. I weighed out tonight at 123.5.

Tomorrow morning I will jump rope in the sauna with Barry to get down to 121.5, then replace a half pound of water. In the afternoon I will mop the mats, and bike/run in plastics to get down to 120.

Tomorrow evening I will fly to Vegas, then go for a 3-mile run, to get down to 119.5, replace a half pound of water and be 120 at bedtime.

Wednesday I will get up weighing about 119, run another 3 miles in plastics to get to 116.5, suck on an ice cube, take a nap and try not to think about anything. Then at 4 I will do one more run in the plastics and do whatever is necessary to make weight at 114.5.

Then I will wrestle.

I'm in Vegas for Nationals. I placed 8th at 114.5.

If you wonder why I'm not more excited about it, it's because I could've done better. I got hurt in the second round. I only made it to the final four in my pool by luck of the draw.

I beat Bove from Penn State/NYAC in the first round, something like 9-4. It was fairly close on the feet, but I beat him on turns, led from start to finish and didn't gas. I was concerned that the cut might affect my conditioning.

In the second round I wrestled a guy named Thamvonessa from the Marine Corps. I blew out my knee about a minute into the match. I was winning 1-0 at the time, and I knew I had to win in order to place, so I decided to continue. He got two throws in a row to my back, because I was having trouble defending with one knee, and I was down 6-1. I was able to kind of crawl in and grab a leg and get a takedown, and once I was on top I was able to turn him multiple times. I ended up winning 11-7 with a combination of one-legged, awkward, reaching shots, good turns on top, and a little bit of stalling the last 45 seconds.

I injury defaulted to Pete Gonzales of Foxcatcher in the third round, which left me 5th in my pool, then cut 8 pounds to make the next weigh-in without being able to run, for the slim possibility that I might somehow be able to get a break. I got a break. Jim Fussell from Syracyse didn't make weight, which left me fourth in my pool with only 1 loss. So I injury defaulted to Folkins from Minnesota/Gopher WC this morning, and again to Burke Tyree from UNI/Foxcatcher in the 7th place match to take 8th place.

I would've wrestled with one leg again if I had to. I don't think I could've beaten any of those guys with one leg though. Gonzales was cutting a lot of weight, and he was pissed at me for injury defaulting without giving him a heads up, because he was counting on breaking a sweat during the match and losing some weight. I don't think he realized that I did it on purpose, because I was hoping he wouldn't make weight.

Without the injury I think I would've had a good shot against him, and Folkins, and Tyree, and probably Range too. I could've placed as high as 4th at this tournament.

So: anti-climactic to say the least. A bad break, a couple of good breaks, and...it's not the way I wanted to do it, but I did it.

Final standings at 114.5:

1st: Zeke Jones (Sunkist)
2nd: Ed Giese (Wildcat WC)
3rd: Doug Harper (Michigan WC)
4th: Eric Folkins (Gopher WC)
5th: David Range (NYAC)
6th: Pete Gonzales (Foxcatcher)
7th: Burke Tyree (Foxcatcher)
8th: Todd Tarpley (Hawkeye Club)

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