PICTURED: Members of the US/Slovenian tour with Slovenian Federation President Suzana Majcen Dvorsak (rear, center). Courtesy of Anthony Wiley

SATURDAY JUNE 25… Our fight against jet lag is now officially over. The Americans dominated, individually, and won the second team trophy today at the Poljcane International Beach Wrestling Championship

Our Slovenian hosts won the team championship, amassing participation points with nearly 30 athletes. The US delegation, comprising nine high school athletes, won a total of 12 medals, with most athletes competing in both Junior and Senior divisions. Slovakia was a distant third in the team race.

USA women’s individual performances include: Vitty Wiley, 2nd, Jrs 50kg; Ryan Garthoeffner, 3rd, Jrs 60kg & 3rd Srs 70kg; Taylor Heimbaugh, 1st, Jrs 60kg & 1st Srs 60kg.

Individual US men’s performances include: Hayden Emory, 3rd, Jrs, 70kg & 2nd, Srs, 70kg; Brayden Squires, 2nd, Jrs, 60kg, & 3rd Srs, 70kg; Sammy McKissick Staley, 1st, juniors, 60kg; Musa Jallah, 3rd, Jrs, 60kg; Ben Perkins, 1st, Jrs, 80kg, & 1st, Srs, 80kg, Gabe, 1st, Jrs, +80kg, & 2nd, Srs, +90kg.

The highlight of our morning was the visit of the President of the Slovenian Wrestling Federation, Suzana Majcen Dvorsak. President Dvorsak took the time to personally visit each athlete. She focused positive attention on our young women, emphasizing the importance of our competitors and beach wrestling in the short and long term future of wrestling. President Dvorsak did us the honor of jumping on a team photo.

The highlight of our evening was a nature rafting experience on the Mura River. The calm and peaceful hour-long ride was followed by a Bolj Zapecen meal. This traditional meal, cooked over an open fire, is famous in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia.

Tomorrow is Sunday and everything is closed. After a morning workout based on games, to eliminate lactic acid, we will spend the afternoon fishing in the local pond, Turnisce. In the evening we will welcome neighboring guests for a Cevapcici barbecue, in our side garden. Life is Beautiful !


Friday, June 24: Children in Ohio and Missouri train to overcome jet lag

They are really good children! Most are new to international travel. Three have just completed their first airplane flight.

Coaches Brian Church (Ohio) and Marty Hauck (Missouri) are “relational” guys. It matches my ideas of what we should all be looking for. USA Wrestling’s Coach Education Program does a great job of injecting this essential philosophical component. That said, “relationship” coaching takes a bit of practice.

Fighting jet lag was our main goal for today. The athletes were up at 6:00 a.m. and drilling in our yard at 6:45 a.m. We left the house for our 20-minute bus ride to Murska Sobota at 9:20 a.m.

Between two fairly intense training sessions (10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.), we had a traditional Bograc lunch. This stew is one of the favorite traditional dishes of our Prekmorje region in Slovenia.

The athletes relaxed in a huge local park, while I shopped for the weekend. Tomorrow (June 25) is Independence Day. Shops will be closed until Monday. We fish at the local pond and cook for the neighborhood on Sunday.

Tomorrow we will participate in Slovenia’s first National Beach Wrestling Championship. When we’re done, we’ll have lunch, then wrestle again on the beach! Slovakia are bringing a team, so we can play a three-way game.

We end our Slovenian independence celebration with an evening rafting experience and cooking on the Mura River.