The trip was great, overall, excellent. On my return yesterday, I think I calculated 52 hours between the time I got up at 7am at the hotel in Pattaya, went to the final day of the tournament, caught the team bus to the airport at midnight, waited it out until my departure at 7:30 a.m., endured 20+ hours of flight time, and finally hit the sack at home at 11 pm Monday night. Needless to say, my wheels are shot. Seeing and experiencing the entire process and competition at this level was awesome. Between scouting, video, the weigh-in procedure and random draw process, the questionable FILA officiating, and all the multinational sights and sounds, it was an eye-opener. The wrestlers at this level are just a short step from the Olympics; many already are a part of the next Olympic training cycle in their countries. As for our USA wrestlers, they got overseas experience at the World level. This is a must in order to compete for medals with teams from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – all of whom brought teams that in some cases have competed in 15 or more international tournaments together.
Many thanks to the USA Wrestling NCEP program, NCEP Director Cody Bickley, USAW Communications/Media Coordinator Jason Bryant, and USAW-Maine for the opportunity and support.