One-on-One with Chance Marsteller
Andrew Hipps, InterMat Senior Editor
firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @InterMat
Chance Marsteller hits a double leg in the finals of the POWERade (Photo/Rob Preston)
Chance Marsteller finished this past season as the No. 1-ranked high school wrestler at 160 pounds, and No. 1 overall in the Class of 2014, after an undefeated sophomore campaign capped off by winning his second Pennsylvania state championship. He will take a perfect 85-0 high school career record into his junior season at Kennard-Dale High School. On June 3, Marsteller won the FILA Cadet Nationals in Akron, Ohio, which earned him a spot on the Cadet World Team that will compete at the FILA Cadet World Championships on Aug. 21-27 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
On Sunday, Marsteller defeated Johnny Sebastian (Bergen Catholic, N.J.), 4-2, at the Adam Frey Classic.
InterMat caught up with Marsteller and talked to him about his training, FILA Cadet World Championships, what his disappointment at FILA Junior Nationals did to him, whether he plans to wrestle in college or train full time at the OTC after he finishes high school, whether he would like to face Bo Jordan, what he needs to improve upon the most, and much more.
What's your training schedule like right now?
Marsteller: Right now it's just mainly at the wrestling barn at my house, just inviting guys in, like if a kid is home from college, one of my old buddies or something ... invite them in, work out with them. It's kind of a day-by-day thing to see who I can get in the room.
Chance Marsteller claimed a Super 32 Challenge belt last October with a victory over Cody Allala (Photo/Rob Preston)You recently made the Cadet World Team by winning FILA Cadet Nationals. You'll wrestle in the FILA Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan in August, which will be your first event against foreign competition. What excites you most about that opportunity?
Marsteller: The most exciting part is finally getting to go overseas and wrestle foreigners and just getting a feel for different countries and different styles of wrestling. I'm just really excited to go overseas.
You have talked about wanting to wrestle an American style with a Russian mindset. What do you mean by that?
Marsteller: Russians are really relaxed. Americans always try to be in really good shape and are always looking to go the full six or seven minutes. I kind of meant having a great gas tank, like most American try to have, but in the same respect have the Russian mindset of a relaxed wrestler.
I know you wanted to wrestle in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but were not allowed to compete because of your age. How disappointing was that for you?
Marsteller: It was pretty disappointing because I wanted to wrestle in the Trials before 2016 to kind of get a feel for what it's like. But at the same time, it also let me be a kid a little bit and have a little bit of fun ... and not cut a lot of weight. I would have had to maintain my weight for a while. It allowed me to go up a weight class, relax a little bit, and focus on training.
Chance Marsteller with three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake of Cornell (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)You went two and out at the FILA Junior Nationals this year in Madison, Wisconsin. What did that do to you?
Marsteller: Well, I was sick with some kind of pneumonia. I was upset that I let myself compete, and let myself compete at that level with the way I felt. Coming into FILA Cadets, it really gave me something to look forward to and reprove myself. I trained really hard for the FILA Cadets because of it. It kind of put fire in my stomach again.
You have spent time at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Who is the toughest U.S. wrestler you have trained with at the OTC?
Marsteller: I really don't know. I couldn't pick one. There are a ton of great guys out there who bring a lot to the table. One of my favorite guys who taught me a lot was Raymond Jordan.
Have you trained with Jordan Burroughs at the OTC?
Marsteller: Not really. We have maybe drilled once.
You still have two years left of high school. Have you decided whether you want to wrestle freestyle on a full-time basis immediately after high school, or whether you want to wrestle in college?
Marsteller: Right now I'm thinking that I'm going to go to college and just take an Olympic redshirt in 2016. If I go to a good college I'll be in the room all the time with tough wrestlers.
Chance Marsteller dominated his competition last summer in Fargo (Photo/Dave Jedlicka, jedicheetah.com)Is there a chance you could spend one of your high school years training at the OTC?
Marsteller: It has crossed my mind, but right now I'm not really sure. I'm going to wait until my senior year to see where everything is at in my life.
Many consider you and Bo Jordan of St. Paris Graham to be the top two wrestlers in the country regardless of weight class. He finished the year ranked No. 1 at 152 pounds and you were No. 1 at 160 pounds. Is Bo Jordan someone you'd like to face?
Marsteller: People have asked me if I've wrestled him before, and I've always said no. It would be a great match to wrestle. I've just never really had a chance to yet. I don't really go to the same tournaments as him.
It's not uncommon for high school wrestlers to transfer schools to seek out better training partners and coaches. You have chosen to stay at the school in your hometown and not transfer to an elite high school program. Why?
Marsteller: I have a decent thing going here. I have my wrestling barn and can pull guys in when I want to. It just kind of keeps the fire going ... because if everything is just handed to you, you can get lazy. But I'm always seeking out partners. I also want to be a four-time Pennsylvania state champion, so I want to stay in PA.
You have stated that you won't be competing in Fargo this summer. What went into that decision?
Marsteller: It was mainly just a focusing kind of thing. I know when I really set my goals on one thing, that's normally when I do best. I'm just looking to keep training, instead of focusing on Fargo, cutting weight for Fargo, and everything that goes into that. I can find better training partners, whether it be around here or at the OTC.
Chance Marsteller, wearing Nike Kolat wrestling shoes, is uncomfortable with the comparison to U.S. wrestling great Cary Kolat (Photo/Rob Preston)Is there a current U.S. wrestler or international wrestler you admire or try to emulate?
Marsteller: No, sir.
People like to compare you to U.S. wrestling great Cary Kolat. When you hear that comparison, how does it make you feel?
Marsteller: I don't like being the second someone. I'm just going to be the first me and I want to do what I do. I kind of get upset when people compare me to Cary because I'm still young and Cary has had a great career. He was a great wrestler and I'm far from being what he ever was.
What are some of the things you like to do when you're not training or competing?
Marsteller: Just the basic high-schooler kind of stuff ... just hang out with friends, go swimming, play basketball, football, volleyball, whatever ...
Do you take much of a break from wrestling? Or is it pretty much training year-round?
Marsteller: It's training year-round, but I try to find a month where I can take a three-week break from practice and matches, which gets a little hard because I get antsy and want to get back on the mat.
Penn State has reeled off two straight NCAA titles, and will be one of the frontrunners to win in 2013. Being in Pennsylvania, are you a fan of the Nittany Lions?
Marsteller: I like to watch them wrestle.
Chance Marsteller prefers freestyle over folkstyle (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)You have rolled through two years of high school undefeated and haven't been seriously challenged. You only gave up one takedown this past season, which happened in the state finals against Brian Brill. Is it ever difficult to motivate yourself against high school competition?
Marsteller: Not really because I kind of look at everyone as a national-caliber wrestler or a national champion. You can never really take anyone lightly ... You could have a bad day and he could have a good day. You just never know. So I have the same mindset for every match.
Do you enjoy wrestling freestyle or folkstyle more?
Marsteller: I love wrestling freestyle. Folkstyle, not so much.
I have heard you say you have wanted to be an Olympic champion since you were 10 years old. What put that goal in your head?
Marsteller: I guess when I first started training at Kolat's ... and just knowing everything he did, learning and hearing about it, and wanting to get better at that time. Cary always wanted all of his guys to set their goals high. So I said that I wanted set the highest goal.
What aspects of your wrestling do you feel you need to improve upon the most to get to where you want to be in 2016?
Marsteller: I guess just a little more maturity, a little more lifting. I need to get stronger. Also, I need to learn how to get past the older guys' hands. They have great hand position and head position.