Posts tagged "Olympic wrestling"

Wrestler Jake Herbert prepares to win gold

By Charlie Akers  |  BSU at the Games

Wrestler Jake Herbert watches his weight and what he eats like most athletes in his field. He does find some unique things to enjoy the most. He loves to drink juices and said “Naked” was his favorite. Most notably, he doesn’t go straight to the water fountain after working out to rehydrate. Instead, Herbert drinks coconut water because it rehydrates you better.

All this caution and weight watching helped Herbert claim a 149-4 record at Northwestern University, and of his four losses, three were as a freshman and the fourth was in the national championship his sophomore year. It’s a record he hopes to improve on this year at the Olympic Games when the 84kg weight class begins wrestling Saturday.

“I’m 27-years-young, and I’m getting bigger, stronger, and quicker everyday. I feel like I am starting to hit my stride,” Herbert said.

Herbert doesn’t just focus on his food intake when preparing for the wrestling mat either. He lifts three times a week and wrestles seven. Two days he plays handball, which he said can get violent with all the wrestlers trying to play.

When it comes to finding a weak spot in an opponents defense, Herbert said at this level most people don’t have one, but he has a strong spot — his offense.

“I attack, attack, attack until I score or till they break down. They can defend one attack, but they can’t defend 14 or 15. They don’t have the endurance or the mental stamina to do that,” Herbert said.

Herbert looks to stay aggressive in his matches hoping to push hard enough to make his opponents tired or force them into a mistake. He said he has a relentless attack that is hard for people to stop, and while his style hasn’t made him the favorite to win gold, that doesn’t bother him. He has been training hard and wants the gold, which requires toppling Sharif Sharifov from Azerbaijan.

And Herbert doesn’t plan to come home with anything less than the top spot on the podium. If that happens, Herbert may just be able to enjoy one of his food splurges, burgers and donuts.

Charlie Akers is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Charlie and the BSU team at @the8thKing,@bsuatthegames and

Keeping it in the family: Son wrestles in father’s footsteps

By Charlie Akers  |  BSU at the Games

Growing up, Sam Hazewinkel hardly knew what it was like to lose. In high school, he was a perfect 140-0 with coaching help from his Olympian father, Dave Hazewinkel. At the University of Oklahoma, his winning ways continued with a 132-10 record.

Still, one thing was missing from his resume—a national title.

Hazewinkel had attempted to join Team USA’s World, National and Olympic teams but never made it. He achieved many seconds and thirds during this winning drought, including 10 third-place finishes and 15 second-places finishes from 2004 to 2011, but never a first.

Then came the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. In the finals against Nick Simmons, he lost the first match and the first two rounds of the second match, seeming to have fallen short of his Olympic dreams yet again. Before he accepted defeat, though, he challenged a call made by the referee. What originally was called a 3-0 win for Simmons became a 1-0 win for Hazewinkel.

The trials came down to a third and deciding match that went into overtime. Hazewinkel came out ahead. He had made the Olympic team.

“In its own way it was a relief to finally get it,” he said, “but it’s also real exciting.”

Sam Hazewinkel’s father, Dave Hazewinkel, was also an Olympic athlete for Team USA, wrestling Greco-Roman along with his twin brother, Jim. Dave and Jim competed in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City and the 1972 Games in Munich. Sam also started out wrestling Greco-Roman but made the switch to freestyle after placing second at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

This is the first time there has been a father and son compete in the Olympic Games for Team USA Wrestling, and Sam Hazewinkel could not be more excited.

“It’s hard to put into words. It’s exciting. I’m getting to make history now, and what is cool is that it’s not necessarily my fault. My dad started it, and I’m just filling in,” Sam said. “It’s been my dream since I was a little kid, obviously, with my dad being an Olympian. I’m loving every minute of it and at the same time trying not to get to caught up in stuff going on.”

Neither Dave nor Jim Hazewinkel medaled either time they went to the Games, so Sam wants to be the one finally to bring home the gold for his family and Team USA. Still, he is trying not to feel burdened by the added expectations.

“There is pressure, but you soon learn to let it roll off. There is so much going on that if you worry about it, it’ll run you over,” said Sam, who is trying to keep what head coach Zeke Jones calls “laser focus.”

“Keep my focus and my mind right. Keep that laser focus and go crush some fools,” Sam said.

Sam’s roommate, Tervel Dlagnev, thinks USA Freestyle will do great things within the next three days.

“Everyone is in focus mode,” Dlagnev said. “USA Freestyle is going to make some noise.”

And Sam wants to do his part, to prove he learned something from all those seconds and thirds he has had over the years.

He’s settling for nothing less than gold.

“I didn’t come here to lose, that’s for sure,” Sam said. “I do know what that feeling is like, and I don’t want to feel it again. I’m going to win.”

Charlie Akers is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Charlie and the BSU team at @the8thKing,@bsuatthegames and

Trice chases Olympic dreams around the world

By Charlie Akers | BSU at the Games

A two-time NCAA All-American, Central Michigan’s Jarod Trice has dreamed of winning gold at the Olympic Games since an early age.

Jarod Trice

Jarod Trice | Photo courtesy: CMU Athletics Communications

The dream started as a young child when he was just starting to wrestle.

Now he has matured into a 265-pound wrecking ball on the mats. He owns a 79-22 record in college, including a 14-1 mark against foes from the Mid-American Conference.

Throughout his high-school days in Highland Park, Mich., Trice totaled a career record of 163-15. His early success catapulted him to the Junior Olympics—and winning gold there—is where he started the dream of winning the Olympic gold.

“After I won Junior Olympic gold, I wanted to be an Olympian one day,” Trice said.

Trice took another step toward his Olympic dream in April with a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The finish fell just short of his goal of making the Olympic team in 2012.  As a result, Trice will return to Central Michigan for his final season of eligibility this fall.

“I felt like I did some of my best wrestling there,” Trice said about the Olympic Trials in Iowa City.  “I am going to keep training, focus on my senior season and be ready for the Olympic Trials in four years.”

The fourth-place finish at the trials only adds to his determination for 2016.  Trice also looks to at least two sources of motivation.

“The people who have influenced me the most have been my mother and my grandmother,” said Trice, whose grandmother passed before his first tournament as a senior in high school. “She keeps me going, man.”

Trice also noted the passing of the man who got him started in sports at a young age and always kept him motivated—James Pollard, Jr.

“I lost James my freshman year in college and he was pretty much the one that kept me into sports,” Trice said.  “He is the one who got me into wrestling. He is the main guy who kept me motivated as I was growing up.”

Knowing those two would be proud of his path, Trice trained all over the world to prepare himself for the Olympic Trials. He started to mainly focus and train specifically for the Olympic Games in April 2011.

“The transition from college to Olympic freestyle is not so big,” Trice said. “It’s pretty much the same thing, but it’s much more on my feet though.”

In 2011-12, Trice took a redshirt year from NCAA competition to train for the Games. He traveled—and trained with the sport’s best—all over the world, including in Russia, Cuba and Vancouver.

“The best have gone and trained in these places, so I wanted to also go there and get better with the best,” Trice said. “I’m just eating it all up. I have to bring my best.”

When he returned to the United States earlier this year to finish training, Trice worked with fellow Olympic qualifier Trevel Dlagnev.

Dlganev, America’s No. 1-ranked heavyweight, won the 120-kilogram weight class at the trials and advanced to the London Games in July.

“Training with those guys has been great,” Trice said. “The 120-kilogram class is probably the most respected weight class because of all the guys. It’s a pretty stacked weight class.”

And one in which Trice is determined to be included for the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I took this whole year off of school for this,” Trice said. “The experience that I’ve had this year has been great.  I’m going to keep competing. I’m going to go for the next three world championships. I’m also going to go for the Olympic Championships in the next four years.”

Charlie Akers is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Charlie and the BSU team at @the8thKing, @bsuatthegames and