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FEATURE: Three-time Junior champion Novachkov just going with the flow



When getting ready for a match, many wrestlers prepare by hopping around, shaking out their arms and slapping their legs. Then there's California's Boris Novachkov.

The 2007 Junior Greco-Roman champion nonchalantly walks up to the official's table, gets to the center of the mat and shakes his opponent's hand. His preparation seems to be working just fine.

"I just go out there and wrestle," said the Sunnyvale, Calif., native after a first-period pin over James Clark of Wisconsin in Session II of the ASICS/Vaughan Junior National Championships.

It sounds simple, and he makes it look that way. Novachkov has yet to drop a period through two sessions.

Moving from Bulgaria when he was 13, Novachkov found immediate success in the United States, winning the 2004 Cadet freestyle national championship, three California state freestyle crowns, and possibly his most impressive accomplishment to date, a Junior National double championship at 98 pounds in 2005.

After taking third in both Greco-Roman and freestyle in 2006, he's motivated to repeat the feat from two years ago.

But he's not changing his style or the way he does business and it is apparent Novachkov isn't satisfied. After winning the Junior Greco-Roman title on Monday, which included an impressive backflip after the finals, he's looking to double up again.

"I would be real excited to double up again," said Novachkov. "It would probably be better than when I did it in '05 because 125 pounds is such a tough weight."

He has a point. In order to achieve his goal, he'll have to get past some tough competition to just make it to the finals. Greco-Roman All-Americans Ian Paddock and Tyler Malmberg of New York are on Novachkov's half of the bracket, as is Matt McDonough of Iowa and T.J. Wunnicke of Wisconsin, who were Freestyle All-Americans last year.

Is Novachkov worried? It doesn't sound like it. "These kids are stronger than ones I've wrestled in the past because it's a heavier weight, but I'm stronger and bigger too," said Novachkov. "And I'm feeling it this year."

With momentum on his side, it sounds like bad news for his opponents.

Novachkov will take his talents to Cal Poly next year and wrestle for the Mustangs with his brother, Filip.

"My brother played some factor into my decision," said Novachkov. "But I also like the coaching staff, and plus, the campus is right next to the beach."

The Pacific Ocean will be there for Boris if he ever needs to cool off. But it doesn't sound like he needs it.
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