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|SCHULTZ MEMORIAL NOTES, SESSION I – Sombo World champion doubles up, Dave’s mom attends and people watching|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Sombo World champion Zastrow enters both styles
Jeff Zastrow of the Warhawk WC placed eighth at the 2006 U.S. Nationals in Greco-Roman. He also entered the U.S. Nationals in freestyle last year. Since then, Zastrow has expanded his wrestling involvement to include both Sombo and Beach Wrestling, both of which he contested at the World Championships last fall.
At the 2006 World Sombo Championships in Antalya, Turkey, Zastrow was the only American to win a gold medal, capturing the 96 kg/211.5 lbs. title. He is an assistant wrestling coach at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and is trying to also make his name in the Olympic-styles of the sport.
He entered the Dave Schultz Memorial International in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. His major focus is on Greco-Roman, the style which he hopes to master moving forward. However, Zastrow also finds that competing in a variety of styles helps make him the best competitor possible.
Zastrow won his first match of the day, a freestyle bout against Yeray Novoa of Spain, winning 6-0, 1-1. His plan was to forfeit a freestyle match if it was held around the same time as his Greco-Roman bouts. With the win, Zastrow was able to qualify for the quarterfinals in both styles.
"Competing in freestyle helps me stay in shape," he said. "I am at the college and I don't have a regular Greco-Roman training partner there. So I am doing freestyle to get in shape and stay sharp. I work on my Greco-Roman lift positions and do a lot of weight training. On the feet, it's pretty much the same as Greco-Roman, except for the shooting."
Zastrow has high hopes for moving up the rankings in Greco-Roman, and believes a good performance here will help tremendously.
"I am a lot more confident in myself since the Sombo World Championships. I had never won a big event before. That was a huge win for me. It helped get me more confident in my wrestling. I am trying to get picked up by one of the clubs.That's why I came here also," he said.
Jeannie St. Germaine, Dave Schultz' mom, attends every year
Every year, there is a fixture at the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dave's mother Jeannie St.-Germaine has been to all nine Schultz International and has travelled from the West Coast again to be part of the event again.
"I would never miss this tournament," said St. Germaine, "I love how it has grown and more and more countries are here, year after year."
St. Germaine has many friends within the sport who she has a chance to visit with here in Colorado Springs each year, but she also has a special place in her heart for the athletes from other nations. Dave Schultz was respected worldwide as an ambassador of goodwill within the sport, and had friends from many nations.
"I love seeing all the foreign athletes here," said St. Germaine. "I don't know if they know me, but they seem to smile and nod as if they do. Maybe they do."
She recalls how Dave had an ability to communicate with athletes from other nations.
"He made a big difference, just smiling and saying hello to so many people," she said.
She looks forward to next year, when the event will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
"It warms my heart that this tournament exists. It's growing. It is a big tournament now," she said.
People-watching includes past World and Olympic champions
Coming to an event like the Dave Schultz Memorial allows wrestling fans to see many great wrestlers competing on the mat. However, those who enjoy the history of wrestling have a chance to see some of the sport's past heroes wandering among the crowd.
John Smith and Kenny Monday, who both won Olympic gold medals in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, arrived together to participate in the tournament. Smith was also a 1992 Olympic champion and four-time World champion, while Monday added a 1989 World title and a 1992 Olympic silver medal. Smith, the head coach at Oklahoma State, was helping coach some of the athletes on the Gator WC.
Park Jang-Soon of Korea, the athlete who beat Monday in the 1992 Olympic finals, was here as one of the coaches for the Korean freestyle wrestlers. Jozef Lohyna of the Czech Republic, a 1990 World freestyle champion, was among those with the foreign delegations.
Wrestling has a great tradition of twins, and one of America's greatest twin acts, the Scherr brothers, were both in the arena this session. Bill Scherr, a 1985 World champion and 1988 Olympic medalist, is here as a coach. His twin brother Jim Scherr, also a 1988 Olympian and multiple World medalist, came down from his office as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee to spend time visiting with athletes, coaches and others at the tournament.
Current athletes and World champions Bill Zadick and Kristie Marano, who are not entered in the tournament this weekend, were here to watch their teammates and rivals. Stan Dziedzic, a World freestyle champion and now member of the FILA Bureau, was also in attendance. Add to that the World and Olympic champions from USA Wrestling's national coaching staff, including Kevin Jackson, Steve Fraser, Momir Petkovic and Terry Brands, along with the more than a dozen World champions entered in the competition, and fans had the chance to see many of the sport's great legends in one place.