U.S. women’s wrestlers experience taste of Italy 2005

Editors note: this first entry for the International Blog page was written by an NMU student author. Coach Shannyn started writing blogs after this point because he felt he could give a more accurate account of the on-goings of the experiences. #femalewrestlingblogs

Team USA at the Italian Ruins.  Clockwise from top: Amy Borgnini, Liz Short, Alaina, Berube, Dany Hedin, Ali Bernard, Sharon Jacobson, Mary Kelly, & Donnell Bradley

By Melissa Salagovich April 1, 2005

Instead of going home for Spring Break, the USOEC women’s freestyle wrestling team had the chance to compete in its first ever overseas competition in Naples, Italy.

On March 12, the women competed in the Trophe Milone International. Of the women that wrestled, only one failed to finish in the top 10.

This is the first year of existence for the women’s wrestling team at the USOEC, and head coach Shannyn Gillespie was pleased with how the team adjusted to the new country.

“The experience was good,” Gillespie said. “We learned how to communicate and how to get to and fro. The food, traffic and water was different, but for some of the ladies it was a good experience.”

Three wrestlers finished in fifth place, the highest finish in the event for the team. Junior Brandy Rosenbrock of Warren, Mich., took fifth place in the 130-pound weight class and junior Mary Kelly of Mahomet, Ill., took fifth at 112 pounds.

Freshman Danyelle Hedin of Honolulu also took home a fifth-place finish in her weight class of 121 pounds. She lost by decision to the winner of the 121-pound weight class, American Tina George, 3-1, 5-1.

Other USOEC wrestlers that posted top-10 finishes included Liz Short at 105.5 pounds, Amy Borgnini at 121 pounds, Sharon Jacobson at 130 pounds and Donnell Bradley and Randi Miller at 158.5 pounds.

“I think we could have been able to do better because we didn’t know anything,” Gillespie said. “Next year we will know what to expect.”

When the team arrived in Naples, preparing for the competition was a little different than they expected. Usually, when they arrive to a tournament, there are facilities in which teams can cut weight, and work out, but in Naples that part was lacking.

The team had to pay 130 euros, or $167, to work out at a local health club, Gillespie said. They also had to travel every morning to the health club.

The team had to practice in different conditions that they were not accustomed to. The women had to adapt to facilities that weren’t as warm as places in the United States.

“The atmosphere was a little different,” Kelly said. “We had to train in an atmosphere we weren’t used to. Temperature-wise, the facility was cold. It was different to get warmed up and prepare for the matches. It was good though. It forced us to overcome adversity and situations we weren’t used to.”

Practicing wasn’t all the team had to change. Some of the women had never wrestled anyone from another country other than Canada.

“Usually, when you go to an international tournament, they have different styles,” Jacobson said, “They wrestle differently, but it is good to compete, you adjust to their style and learn from them. You have to wrestle the best to be the best.”

Although the girls were busy working out and preparing for the tournament, some were fortunate enough to go out and explore Italy.

A small handful of women were able to visit the ruins of the ancient ash-covered city of Pompeii.

“It was cool, we only were able to walk around a few hours,” Jacobson said. “It was amazing seeing how much they had — saunas, churches, brothels, running water. They had so much for 79 AD.”

The team also got an idea of what Naples was like as they walked around the city.

Things such as the dirtiness of the streets, the small alleys, and the driving of Italians seemed odd to the team.

“What stuck out the most was the way they drive,” Kelly said. “They really don’t have any rules for their driving, one mom had to pull her kid out of the way of a driver — seems crazy driving through the city. -(C) 2005 The North Wind via U-WIRE

For a pictorial essay of this trip, please view below slideshow.

Copyright ©  by Coach Shannyn ,  All rights reserved

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