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SCHULTZ FEATURE: Trotman making rapid progress in international freestyle wrestling

Austin Trotman of the Titan Mercury WC scores a takedown at 84 kg at the Dave Schultz Memorial International. John Sachs photo

Austin Trotman is a vast amount of talent, as his performance at today’s Dave Schultz Memorial International displayed.

In only his second international tournament, Trotman is quickly moving up the ranks at the Senior level. A recent graduate from Appalachian State University, Trotman won his first international tournament, the 2012 NYAC Holiday International Open, in November and was named Outstanding Wrestler there.

Brandon Slay, the National Freestyle Resident Coach at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., who has worked considerably with him, said Trotman has a few technical advantages on the mat.

“In freestyle wrestling, speed wins,” said Slay. “Speed is a major asset, and that’s one of the gifts Austin has. He also has a great double-leg, which helped him succeed in college wrestling. Now that he doesn’t have to finish inbounds, that makes him even more dangerous.”

At today’s tournament, Trotman blew through the semifinals, beating Anthony Jones of the Michigan Wrestling Club, 4-0, 1-1 and moved on to face another American, Jon Reader of the Sunkist Kids. It was a disappointing loss for Trotman, who was pinned at 0:27 in the first period by Reader and took home the silver at 84 kg.

“My biggest thing is staying humble,” he said after the match. “It was frustrating, though. Nobody wants to wrestle a 20 second match.”

His team, Titan Mercury WC, won the overall team award, and he still had a great run at the tournament despite the final loss.

“Nothing has changed,” he said. “I have the same goals. You can only build from here. Even though things didn’t go my way this time, I still want to keep wrestling and build character. You have to take pride in winning and stay humble when you lose.”

Overall, the men’s freestyle wrestlers from the United States in the 84 kg bracket saw a lot of success at today’s Dave Schultz Memorial International. It came down to four Americans in the semifinals, which set the final matchup between Trotman and Reader.

Trotman was also a top athlete in college wrestling, but truly took the nation by storm in his senior year at Appalachian State. A four-time NCAA Championship qualifier, he had a memorable performance in taking third in the 2012 NCAA Championships at Appalachian State . Since then, he has turned his attend to freestyle,

Trotman’s talents do not stop when he steps off of the mat. Before taking on wrestling in 9th grade and deciding to commit to it fully a year after that, he played football and went to a number of overseas skateboarding competitions.

Trotman has also been playing guitar for more than 10 years and is known to freestyle rap on occasion.

“If you catch me with a video camera, I might do it for you,” said Trotman of rapping.

It is no surprise Trotman is good with words, considering his bachelor’s degree in communication studies and his passion for speech.

“I love public speaking. It’s not like I just love the sound of my own voice, though,” he said.

His main focus is motivational speaking, he said, and his proudest accomplishment is getting a bible study started at Appalachian State and getting some of his teammates to attend.

His Christian faith is a large part of Trotman’s life, and a top priority.

“I was this close to hanging [wrestling] up after I graduated. I wanted to be a full-time missionary,” Trotman said. “But really, I didn’t want to hang up my shoes yet.” Instead, his coach convinced him that he could keep wrestling and still do mission work. Now he plans to finish this cycle, and reevaluate what he wants to do after 2016.

Hoping to earn a spot on the World Team and the Olympic Team, Trotman said he wants to focus on keeping a positive attitude and keep on his upward trajectory.

Luckily, his attitude is one of his great assets.

“He has a fabulous attitude and is very coachable,” said Coach Slay. “He is like a respectful sponge. He desires to get better every day and that is what you desire as a coach.”

Trotman is currently splitting his time between training at Appalachian State and in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was recently picked up by Titan Mercury Wrestling Club after his impressive win at the NYAC Holiday International Open.

Once he decides to stop wrestling full-time, Trotman hopes to continue his missionary work and help build churches either in the U.S. or overseas.

For now, though, he is looking forward to the upcoming foreign tours and the World Team Trials this summer. No matter when he decides to stop, the value that wrestling has had for him is priceless.

“I honestly feel that I’m going to take more from wrestling than any college classes, and not that I didn’t have amazing classes,” said Trotman. Wrestling builds character; it makes you tough mentally and physically. It’s one of the best sports ever made,” he finished.
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