Foley's Friday Mailbag: September 6, 2013

InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.

Do you want to read a past mailbag? Access archives.

With the Olympic decision only two days away it's important to realize that we are all worried about our post-decision emotions.

Should the vote come back with a negative result I can guarantee that one of the 14 dozen Japanese film crews on location in Buenos Aires will capture footage of me heaving a park bench through a department store window. If not a violent outburst then a newspaper reporter will interview me while I lay face down in a plate of charcuterie, splashes of whiskey and Malbec speckling my dress shirt. Or maybe I'll just start swimming? Hop into the ocean and Diane Nyad my way to the Falkland Islands and claim it for the sport of wrestling.

Likely it will be a positive result in which case I suspect I'll cry like it were the end of "The Notebook." I've been practicing sobbing and laughing into my arms to prevent having my emotions exploited on the front-page of your local paper, a gob of nasal drain streaking across my cheek. Photographers love photographs of grown men weeping.

Whatever your emotion, embrace the moment. You guys, we the wrestling community, deserve a moment to mourn or celebrate in any fashion we choose. The #SaveOlympicWrestling movement has already been a monumental success, with new rules, and a revived interest in all things dealing with the sport. No matter what the 104 voting members of the IOC decide, we are a better sport for acknowledging a large portion of our shortcomings and taking steps to improve. Some booze, some tears? Meh. Let it out.

If you want some more details about the weekend and are tuning in around 11:45 a.m. ET I'll be posting everything to Twitter.

To your questions ...

Q: Mid-summer slowdown question: Who would you choose to be in a folkstyle all-star dual of the best U.S. wrestlers over 34 (I'm trying to exclude anyone even close to competition age) at the current NCAA weight classes? Let's presume good health across the board just to level the playing field. I'd pay big money to see guys like Terry Brands, Donny Pritzlaff, Eric Guerrero and Cary Kolat go at it. Who ya got?
-- Bryan R.

Foley: My starting ten of guys over the age of 34 who I think could still roll? Hmm. I have a preference for the ACC guys (nostalgia) and guys who were nasty on top. I also would like to choose the GOAT and a football player.

I'm beating a very dead horse, but wouldn't each of these guys come out for a takedown-only event? What's to lose? Each would have plenty of accomplishments to fall back on, and how hurt can you get in one takedown? (The answer is "seriously" but let's imagine it's not.) They could wear cool outfits and dance on their way into the arena. Anyone who wouldn't pay a Buffalo nickel to see some of the old-timers square-up and go for broke is a fool. And I pity the fool.

Prediction?! PAIN!

125: Sammie Henson
133: Mike Mena
141: T.J. Jaworsky
149: Bill Zadick
157: Lincoln McIlravy
165: Donny Pritzlaff
174: Sean Bormet
184: Mitch Clark
197: Cael Sanderson
285: Stephen Neal

Q: Do high school wrestling programs need a coach that is also a teacher at that school to revive the program, or have you seen it accomplished in other ways?
-- Jim S.

Foley: High school programs 40 years ago needed a coach who was in the school in order to recruit talented competitors, but today the professionalization of amateur sports has changed that dynamic.

The most important predictor of a program's future success is the establishment of a club program that can serve the local community of wrestlers outside the two hours of practice time five days a week, four months a year. A solid club program gets the kids involved in a professionalized and predictable schedule.

Being at the school is not a bad idea, but doing it in sacrifice of another career you might enjoy more as a professional outside the wrestling room would be counter-productive. In my experience the coaches who were content with their position in life were most able to connect with their wrestlers, and in the end happy wrestlers helps to promote a healthy lifestyle and generational continuity for the sport we love.


Sirius XM Fight Club Radio discussion about Olympic discussion ...

Jay Mohr, Tom Arnold team up for "Wrestling Nice" video ...

Images from Foxcatcher ...

The first showcasing of Foxcatcher will be Friday Nov. 8 at the AFI FEST in Hollywood.

Q: Do you think Aaron Pico should be getting more attention than Kyle Snyder right now? Everyone is talking about Pico and even voting his performance the best on's poll. I agree that dominating the Cadet World Championships coming out of your freshman year of high school is pretty amazing, but I think what Snyder did was far more impressive. People seem to forget that Snyder is just heading into his senior year. When was the last time someone his age won the Junior World Championships? And he dominated just about the same way Pico did. The difference to me though is the ages involved between the two tournaments. Snyder beat dudes that, in their countries, are probably considered men. This is a tournament that Logan Stieber couldn't get gold in. That's one of our best college wrestlers, and Snyder did it as a high school student in a big weight class. I think both Pico and Snyder are easily the two brightest prospects in wrestling today, but we need to chill the hype on all these high school freshmen.
-- Nicholas B.

Foley: As you noted, much of Pico's appeal stems from his position as a high school freshman. That being the case, he'll be 17 years old soon and that put him at 18 months younger than Kyle Snyder, who is forging his senior year to wrestle at the Olympic Training Center.

Hype is hype. Pico is a world-beater stud, as is Kyle Snyder. To compare the two isn't very productive. However, I do think that Snyder, who projects to be 21 years old for the 2016 Games, is much more likely to make the U.S. World Team at whatever weight class is created once FILA pares the seven down to six.

Pico is in an odd position. The weight class shift could go any of the three directions: unchanged, terrible, or perfect. With Snyder you know that there is going to be a linebacker weight, and it's logical to assume that with even marginal growth projections he'll be stomping American competition come Olympic Team Trials. With Pico he's much more likely to lose the game of weight class Frogger, and be smashed by bureaucracy.

Skill-wise, Snyder is more fluid, while Pico has better defense and hands dipped in concrete.

Q: We keep hearing that Ben Askren may leave Bellator and go to the UFC. Do you think he will be successful in the UFC as he was in Bellator like other wrestlers such as T.J. Dillashaw and Gray Maynard?
-- Gregg Y.

Foley: Yes. As you do one thing you do all things, and it's ludicrous to bet against a guy of Ben Askren's talent this late in the game. Every indication is that he is the greatest control-based wrestler in history ... yes, the history of mankind. Nobody has been more capable at preventing his opponent mount a logical defense, and nobody has been more smothering than Ben Askren. Whether it's a knuckleball, two-minute drill or taking someone down and holding them against their will, never bet against someone who originates and dominates a style.

@caelsanderson and @tombrandsHAWK

You thought Twitter was for teeny boppers and stalkers? Well you're right, but it's also for Olympic champions and NCAA champion coaches to talk about setting up the greatest dual meet of the season.

Update: Penn State, Iowa set to battle in non-conference dual.


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TLS62PA (1) about 4 and a half years ago
Result of that twitter convo is an announced non-conference dual match at 9pm on December 21st at Carver-Hawkeye!
SetonHallPirate (1) about 4 and a half years ago
We're well aware. In fact, I've already booked my flights, hotel, and car up there.
sbecker (1) about 4 and a half years ago
I would add Alan Fried