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Veterans Bono, Vering, Miranda use new methods to seek World Team Trials victory

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Listen to Press Conference Audio

All three of the 2007 U.S. Nationals champion wrestlers who participated on a USOC media teleconference are veterans. All have competed on past World Teams. All have learned a thing or two about what it takes to win.

Training smart and managing the challenges of age and life was a consistent theme in the press conference, which featured 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda of the Sunkist Kids in women's wrestling, 2004 Olympic Brad Vering of the New York AC in Greco-Roman and three-time World Team member Chris Bono of the Sunkist Kids in men's freestyle.

All three are top-seeded in their weight classes heading into the U.S. World Team Trials at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., June 9-10.

Bono, 33, has an additional challenge in his quest to be a world class wrestler. He serves as the head wrestling coach at the Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

"It is extremely challenging," said Bono. "I really had to sit back and map a schedule for myself. It's almost every second of every day, and that also includes family time. If I don't set the schedule and abide by it, it is my family that winds up suffering, because I am either working or working out. So I've had to set a schedule and I stick to it. As long as I stick to it, I am good to go."

Bono looks back to 2003, a year he won the U.S. Nationals but did not make the World Team, and sees a difference in his approach.

"In 2003, I was No. 1 man coming out of the nationals and lost two straight matches at the Trials and did not make the team. When I look at that I can say I was afraid to lose. Now with a career and a family, I'm the most carefree guy in the world with my wrestling. I am not afraid to lose now. I have a career. I am ready to win this time. I am not sure I was ready to win back then. I am excited. I am a 33 year old man now. You never know when it's my last time, my last day, when my body will give out. I enjoy this process so much more. It feels like I have been reborn because my energies and priorities have been refocused."

Vering, 29, made four straight U.S. team, starting in 2002 and running through 2005, but fell to No. 3 at his weight class during the 2006 season. He made a number of changes in his training and his philosophies, and it has paid off big time with success this year.

"As you grow older, as you mature as a wrestler, you have to make some changes. I kind of got into a little bit of a rut in my training. I have been doing the same thing for four years. With the rule changes for Greco-Roman, it has been extremely challenging to convert over. Now I feel like I am starting to come into my own. I feel more confident with my wrestling. I changed the way I am training. I am training smarter, rather than harder all the time. I am still training very hard, just trying to do it so it works out better for how I compete. I am staying stronger and I am trying to stay healthy now."

Vering was well known for out-training and outworking everybody and anybody in the sport. He still trains hard, but the recovery time has become more important.

"I am approaching my 30's now. I going to turn 30 in August," continued Vering. "I can't train like I did in college. You are doing school. Your body can take so much. What has been happening with me is I've been still been training at the same level. Your body can't respond as fast as it could, or recover as fast as it could when you are younger. It's wearing on you mentally sometimes. What I am doing is recovering harder, and taking a day off every now and then and focusing on staying healthy mentally. When I do that, it has been great for me. I feel much more confident in my style. I've had a great spring."

Miranda, 27, just finished the challenge of earning a degree from Yale Law School. She is also doing different things from earlier in her career, some methods she has learned by trying to juggle college and training.

"I do believe it has helped in the ways that wrestling transfers over to the greater fields of work and life," said Miranda. "You get out what you put in. Outcome is not always the most effectual thing to focus on. The process, pushing yourself to learn something or to understand something harder than you thought you could. The principles are less physically tiring, but have helped on the mat as well.

Miranda can compare her preparation for this Olympic Games to when she was preparing to earn a spot on the 2004 Olympic Team. She sees a different attitude and approach, something she thinks will help her to excel.

"I chose to do what I am doing a little bit more than I did the last time. The retirement year I took after '04 during my first year of law school was very important. I am getting more out of my competition, my experience, my training. That break made me think and really realize why I am doing what I am doing. It has really helped me deemphasized the outcome. I'm trying to push my wrestling to this next level, and wrestle completely without fear. By focusing on that, it will give me a much more outcome-friendly outcome this time around. I feel the experience in Athens will help me."
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