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Meet celebrates 15 years of Greco-Roman wrestling at NMU

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University Olympic Training Site has had a Greco-Roman wrestling program for 15 years and to commemorate that achievement, the wrestlers held an exhibition match against the All-Navy team on Thursday night in the Superior Dome.

“We just thought it was a good opportunity to have the event and open it up to the public so they could get a chance to see some Greco-Roman wrestling, because we don’t have a lot of home competitions,” USOTS operations manager Mike Kaurala said.

“We were looking to do something to recognize the program and the Navy team has come up the last three years for a camp to get ready for the Armed Forces Championships, so it was good for everyone.”

After the match, fans were invited to check out the wrestling room and meet the team.

Former gold medalist and hall of famer Steve Fraser made some opening remarks. He’s credited with helping establish the program at NMU.

Both teams were quiet, intense and focused on taking care of business as they were introduced to the crowd.

The All-Navy team was made up of wrestlers from a variety of positions such as Navy divers, masters at arms, and electrician and machinist mates.

In all, 10 OTS wrestlers competed in weight classes from 59 to 130 kilograms – that’s 130 to 287 pounds – with some doubling up in weight classes.

NMU-OTS won each match with several technical falls.

Kaurala says Greco is a different style of wrestling and it’s entertaining for fans.

“In Greco, you can’t attack the legs, so in my opinion, there’s a lot more action,” he said. “In Greco, there’s a lot more throws and when they do them, they are usually high throws. It’s exciting to watch.”

Kaurala also says that that the NMU-OTS is trying to get another event scheduled.

“We’re hoping to have two this year, so hopefully we’ll have another one later on this spring,” he said.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.