COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2017 U.S. Men’s Freestyle National Team spent the morning and early afternoon at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Wednesday, getting a practice in and spending some time with the Air Force Cadets.
“We wanted to come out to the Air Force Academy and take advantage of the resources in town,” U.S. Freestyle National Coach Bill Zadick said. “The Air Force was influential in helping us put together our acclimation camp at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, which was a huge performance benefit for our team. It’s a ‘thank you’ to them and it’s also an opportunity for our guys to train at a different venue. This is also great for us to be around people that have an extremely high level of commitment in a different lane, a different slice of life than what we get to do.”
The morning started with a workout in the Air Force wrestling room, where the team focused on edge-of-the-mat techniques and short-time situations. Meanwhile next door to the wrestling room, several Air Force Cadets were getting some training in a required combative class.
Shortly after practice, the team went to Mitchell Hall to experience what lunch looks like every day at the Academy. All 4,000 Cadets are hosted in the same room at the same time for a family-style lunch that lasts only 25 minutes from start to finish.
Each wrestler and coach was escorted by a member of the Falcon wrestling team and had a chance to interact with other Air Force students.
“We have a wonderful relationship with USA Wrestling and all of its programs,” Air Force wrestling head coach Sam Barber said. “The partnership has been ongoing and this is just one thing on our side of it that we can do to reciprocate all the help and assistance that we get from USA Wrestling. It’s neat for them to go to lunch and get a chance to see what it’s like to be a Cadet in the Air Force Academy.”
The day wrapped up with fun conversations and a short walk through some of the campus, including the iconic Air Force Academy Chapel.
“I had a great experience at the Air Force Academy training today,” 2016 World champion Logan Stieber said. “I want to thank them for opening up their facilities to us and letting us enjoy lunch with them.”