Day 4August 6One Champion, 2 silvers, 1 bronze, and 2 fourth places was what Team USA accomplished at the Cadet Pan American Championship 2011 and I am very proud of this team. This team was put together about 2 weeks ago at Jr. Nationals with very little time to organize any training (so we had no training camp) and even less time to get plane tickets, pictures sent to USAW, equipment sent to athletes and coach, and virtually no time to get to know the athletes. You know, all of the essentials of putting a good team together. In my estimation, we defied the odds and placed 6 of 8 wrestlers in the top 4 and bonded very well as a team in spite of what is written above, oppressive heat and humidity, and no real love from the organizers of the event.
I have never organized a tournament so it probably is best not to criticize......too much. Well, the tournament was run in perhaps less than ideal conditions. Team USA responded well under the duress of not knowing what color singlet the were wearing, not knowing when they would wrestle, dealing with the weather in the facility which felt like a steam room time and time again. Team USA stepped up to the plate and hit a home run! Even though many of the athletes suggested this style of wrestling was different, they still managed to adapt, adjust, and grow during the tournament. I suggested to them that being able to get through this tournament, the way they did, showed perserverance and guts and this will prepare them for many other tournaments and life; you never know what life is going to throw at you...
Thanks Team USA: Marina, Amy, Devyn, Hanna, Jennah, Rosemary, Monica, and Brittany - you inspire me.
Also thanks to USAW, parents, and Sergio Ortiz. Sergio helped coach and he was a tremendous asset. More than 3 times we had athletes wrestling at the same time. We certainly could not have managed without the help of Sergio. Thanks again.
I really had a blast on this trip and would like to thank USAW again for selecting me. It is easy to forget how cadets think and act when you are surrounded by athletes that are not cadets or in that age group. It is easy to forget how cadets dream, have goals, and are hungry. As mentioned, this team responded with little to no interest in me or my coaching prior to this trip. I would do this trip 1000 more times.
The day actually started with no morning practice and guess what we did? You got it...we shopped and sight saw. We shopped before the tournament, after the tournment and then after the tournament again. Someone called me a shop-a-holic. Maybe this is true.
After the championships, we took a lot of pictures, the athletes went swimming, we shopped/sight saw twice, and we went to a taco place at about 11pm. Mind you, we were tired from the days events and the crazy heat in that gym. (I was sweating sitting still in a chair not coaching.) I guess when you are in paradise, you feel no pain. The night at the taco place was the greatest time I had on the trip. I enjoy coaching and teaching to no end, but, when you are talking, laughing and having a good meal, nothing seems to compare. This trip was only 4 days and seemed like 10 really due to the early morning workouts and the volume of things we did each day.
The second time shopping/sight seeing today, it appeared to be some sort of festival and there were a lot of families around. Campeche is really beautiful in the evenings. The vendors, stores, and markets were in full swing at 9pm on a Saturday night. This really reminded me of 'The Taste of Chicago' with all the people, buzz in the air, and fun. We actually drank out of bags and you will only know what I mean if you look at the pictures or talk to Team USA. What started out as an ice cream trip, turned into a sight seeing extravaganza. The water fountains that did not work during the day, worked with lights and music in the evening. Campeche really does awaken in the evening.
Tomorrow or today (I'm writing this at 3am) we leave back to the States. All Team USA will fly into to Mexico City and then seperate to different airports all across the good ole USA. Well I hope this insight to the life and times of me and Team USA at the Cadet Pan Am 2011 was worth it. Being with this team was worth it to me.
40 kg – Marina Doi, Champion, 3-0 record Natassya Lu (Can) 6-0, pin Jahaira Tatianna C. (ECU) 4-2, 5-4 Cintia Monserrat M (MEX) 7-0, pin
43 kg – Devyn Johnson, 5th, 1-2 record Katie Waite (CAN) 0-2, pin Rosalinda C. (MEX) lost Naiyeliz G. (VEN) lost by pin
46 kg – Amy Hou, dnp, 0-1 record Dubraika R. (VEN) 0-5, 1-3
52 kg – Hanna Grisewood, bronze, 2-1 record Meagan Kingsbury (CAN) 1-0, 1-0 Alejandra R. (MEX) 0-1, 0-1 Nayday Esperanza G. (GUA) pin :17
56 kg – Jennah Brennan, 4th, 0-2 record Adriana Ramos (COL) lost Ana Cristel Osoria (MEX) lost by pin
60 kg – Rosemary Flores, silver, 3-1 record Soleymi Antonieta C. (VEN) pin Anabella Del Rocio R. (GUA) pin Miriam Elizabeth R. (MEX) 0-1, 4-2, 0-2 Nicole Roach (CAN) pin
65 kg – Monica Ramirez, silver, 2-1 record Dolores Ana Beatriz G. (GUA) pin Angelica C. (VEN) 0-1, 3-3, 1-0 Vanessa Z. (MEX) 0-2, 0-1
70 kg – Brittany Harvey, dnp, 0-4 Loreto Rojo Varela (MEX) lost Jenifer Yordeth M. (GUA) lost Hildalgo Jilary D. (VEN) lost Kelsey Raab (CAN) lost
The organizers did not give me a final results bracket and the team score was never announced. There is no website and we are leaving at 5am today or tomorrow. I have asked Sergio to fax the final results when the organizers give it to he.
Day 3 August 5HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAYLA --> I love you all the way from Mexico. Today is my daughter Kayla's birthday!!!Day 3 started with several games to get the athletes minds and bodies prepared for the upcoming weigh-in, competition(s) plus sight seeing & shopping. Today, we timed the opening of the wrestling gym just right and the ladies performed rather well in training as live wrestling was added and they looked sharp. Prior to the excellent mat workout, the athletes were intense in the warm up games too which indicated to me they are ready to wrestle.
Yesterday, Rosemary, Jennah, and Hanna missed a great shopping expedition so today they jumped at the opportunity and shop we did. The weather here is nuts and this helped get the athletes weight down as a second workout without a lot of intensity. Really, just walking around here, most lose water weight or sweat. It is great to be in walking distance to just about all the shops and vendors your heart can imagine. Campeche is a small town with very many shops. Most of the shops sell American goods while only a few that we went to actually sold stuff we couldn't buy in the States. Well everyone one was happy and tired after the day of looking for just the right presents.
Wrestling is somewhat of an interesting sport for many reasons related to exercise, nutrition, and the mind game. Most wrestlers, including the current Cadet Pan Am team from the USA, like working out a lot and tend to think about their weights even when they are under the weight class for weigh ins. I guess I did the same thing when weigh ins were apart of the competition routine. Team USA did a great job today as everyone was under weight 6 hours prior to the weigh in. This is odd and strange to me because most of the USOEC team I coach struggles to get their weight down this early in the day. That written, Team USA checked their weights prior to the weigh in just to make sure...
When the weigh in finally arrived, most of Team USA was at least a half a kilogram underweight so the mood was jovial and friendly. Because the weigh in and medical check started about 45 minutes late, Team USA talked with other teams and also took pictures with Team Venezuela. Everyone likes to take pictures if you ask them (I've learned) and most times female teams actually talk to each other -at most of the weigh ins I've been at- and today was no exception.
Team USA watched the opening ceremony and Brittany was actually in the opening ceremony. The ceremony was great and Team USA definitely got motivated after hearing and seeing the crowd of this event. The host and organizers really put on a show and why not...this is a continental championship. In other words, champions of this tournament can say they are the best in the Americas. That says a lot!
Team USA also got motivated watching the Greco Roman Team USA compete and win medals. I counted 4 medals won prior to us going to eat dinner at 8:30 pm. A lot of the team asked if this many people would be there for their finals. Honestly, I do not know because typically, female sports historically have less attendance or fans than male sports. So, I explained to them, your team will be here and that is what really counts. It was also suggested that the Greco Roman Team USA would be here supporting us just like we supported them.
Speaking of support, it was inspiring to see so many fans at a wrestling event cheering and waving the flags of their nation. The Canadiens, who sat right in front of us, were very vocal and proud to wave their flags. I wish we would have had flags to wave...we didn't so when the time was right, my extra loud whistle was used to support our boys. It would be nice too to have more than one coach for our athletes. The boys team has 6 coaches and 1 interpreter. Well, we have Monica and Rosemary (thanks ladies :) and also Sergio from California has agreed to step in and coach if our team is wrestling at the same time --> Thanks Sergio!
This team is great. At dinner, we talked about how they got ready for tournaments and what they saw in their minds prior to competing. This stuff is what makes champions champions. The mental and physical preparation and or getting ready to compete starts in the mind. It seems like many of this team have the right mindset and ability to do what is necessary to compete at a high level. At this age, 15-17, it all starts and I am happy to coach this group.
Tomorrow it is our turn and we are ready.
Day 2 August 4 Today was a long day starting with a practice, in the middle a reward, and in the end fatigue and food.
This morning, we practiced in the dark and the athletes seemed to have fun while playing team handball with my running shoe. As the sun came up, the rules changed slightly to even or make the game more challenging. The wrestling room was not actually opened till 7am so playing a game in the sweltering heat/humidity of the morning appeared fitting. The weather is a little less than the Fargo, ND weather about 2 weeks ago at Jr. Nationals. Nothing like warming up in the dark and adjusting your mind and body to the heat, lack of sun, and change of plans.
Yesterday, Rosemary lost about 110 dollars from her wallet. We later learned that the money was taken out of her wallet by someone in the hotel after Rosemary left her wallet in a chair. The alleged thief was caught on tape and the money was 'rewarded' back to Rosemary, after a very stressful night of sleep, she later explained. She learned to be more careful with her personal belongings and to actually focus on what is really important.
For the second day, we again walked to the mall. This time, however, we became shop-a-holics. While Rosemary, Jennah, and Hanna were swimming, the rest of us brave souls walked, site saw, and shopped till we dropped. Did I mention the weather? Well it was so hot/humid, most every vendors' shirt was soaked through with sweat. The malls were okay and we got very many deals from and by the street vendors. Some of the other stores had really interesting items for sale too. I guess when the athletes get home, they will tell you all about (if your lucky).
I left a lot of stuff out because each day seems like 2 or 3 days. For instance, we walked about a mile up and down the strip/boardwalk/beach looking at the cool sites. Remember, it felt like a sauna outside today. There were strange looking fish in the water that were long and cylindrical. We are really close to the water/beach, training facility aka Unidad Deportiva, mall or Plaza Del Mar, and what appears to be the center of town. Unidad Deportiva is unique to me because it is an outdoor structure with a roof over it. You will have to look at the picturesto see what I mean. It can rain and you are still able to play basketball or team handball or indoor soccer.
There is water everywhere. There is a pool in the Hotel Del Mar. There is a pool in the Unidad Deportiva. There is a beach across the street. The athletes have been swimming twice in 2 days so far; and tomorrow we may go swimming at the beach. There also a lot of palm trees too.
This place is really beautiful with the palm trees seemingly in just about every photo taken. It dawned on me that I have lived in states like North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and now Michigan...these are states where there are 4 sesasons which sometimes feels like 2 or 3 seasons blending winter and fall or spring and summer. Well, in Campeche, there are enough palm trees to make this place seem like a resort. The old town look sort of reminds me of Europe with the smaller cars and the very narrow streets. Being right on the water and seeing palm trees everywhere is a nice change of pace.
I've also noticed a lot of street art and or murals on many of the walls in Campeche. The typical graffiti appears to be painted over. The works of art seem to stay so that everyone can admire the beauty within.
The athletes second workout was actually on the mat. The first workout was executed on the handball field because the wrestling gym was locked. The athletes liked the workout off of the mat and this was good because you do not always need a mat to get a wrestling workout done. (I used to wrestle in the grass in my high school days.) Because of the intense heat and the athletes will compete in 2 days, the workout was short and sweet. This was fine because it gave us ample time to relax, eat, and shop again. Don't get me wrong, I know why we are here; and, my experience has taught me athletes can learn more on these trips than just wrestling if they are lead to learn in other areas too.
We learn a lot about each other while we are walking to and from the stores and or at all of the meals we eat together. During those walks and meals, we sort of reflect on what just happened and how hot it is outside. I generally comment on what an opportunity it is to be in this hot heat and make jokes about the cold weather (where I'm from) to lighten things up. The team appears to like everything about this trip so far...except for maybe the wallet incident.
The athletes said they had a lot of fun today and this makes me happy. The workouts were good. The atmosphere is kept relaxed by me on purpose to keep the athletes minds from worry. They are fine, and with reinforcement, they believe they are fine. When it is time to focus, focus they must and this skill is learned too with reinforcement.
Tommorrow, we weigh in and get more ready to relax, explode, have fun, and do our best!
Day 1 August 3We all met in Mexico City airport and then flew to Campeche at around 4:20 CST. Marina, Amy, Jennah, Hanna, Devyn, Brittany, Rosemary, and Monica all came from different airports across the USA to met up with me, Coach Shannyn.
Earlier in the day Marina texted me and so did Jennah. I also texted Amy to make certain she knew when I would land in Mexico City. Well, it all went well and everyone is safe. We even all got our credentials, ate, swam, and walked around the town prior to curfew at 10:30 pm.
Generally speaking, the trips were pretty good. Most wrestlers know what it is like to eat once or twice (or less) in a day and this is what most of us did today. I drove from my mom's condo (thanks mom) to Chicago's Ohare airport at 4:00 am and it seems like most of us travelled that early based on the times that I received those lovely text messages.
The team seems happy and we all got a chance to bond on the bus ride from the airport to the host hotel. Actually, I spent the day with Jennah and Hanna. We must have walked up and down the airport 4 or 5 times before we were told it's free to ride the train to the next terminal...so we got the free ride.
Luckily, Monica and Rosemary are fluent in Spanish. Monica and Rosemary, thanks for helping us during the process of getting credentials, figuring out when we could eat/train, and more. I wish I was fluent in Spanish. You 2 are great thanks again.
Well tomorrow, we will have an early moring work out at 6am and then another at 3pm.