Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
TULSA – Oklahoma City University men’s wrestling coach Sam Hazewinkel earned a spot on the U.S. Senior Greco-Roman World Team following the World Team Trials this week at the Cox Business Center.
Hazewinkel made the World Team for the first time in his storied international career. Hazewinkel, a 2012 freestyle Olympian, will compete for the United States in the World Championships in October in Budapest, Hungary.
Hazewinkel secured the the 121-pound (55-kilogram) World Team berth by knocking off Max Nowry 11-0 first-period technical fall Friday. Hazewinkel completed a two-match sweep of his matchup with Nowry after he knocked off Nowry 4-4 in the first bout with a first-period throw. Nowry, a past University World champion, defeated Hazewinkel in April for the U.S. Open title.
Hazewinkel joined the Stars as head coach March 28. Hazewinkel is a nine-time national team member and 2008 Greco Olympic Team runner-up. Hazewinkel competed collegiately for Oklahoma from 2002-06, becoming a four-time all-American and national runner-up. He made his return to the mat after two years.
“It’s been different at 35,” Hazewinkel said. “I can’t train the same way I used to. I know the level you have to train at to be an Olympic gold medalist, and I can’t. When I train at that level I get injured. My body falls apart, so it’s a really fine line there between pushing myself and knowing when to lay off. That’s the good thing about being old, you’ve got the experience. I can be a little smarter in matches, so I’m learning how to make up for it and finding that fine line with training.”
Greco-Roman National Team head coach Matt Lindland said, “We’ve got a great bunch of guys. I’m super excited about this team, very mentally tough guys that fought hard. We had a lot of matches go to three, so they had to gut it out, and hopefully they can carry that all the way through the training process and into Budapest for the World Championships.”