Athletes compete in beach nationals, World Team Trials
Mike Morone has been a wrestler for more than three decades, but even he was exposed to a new element of the sport on Saturday.
The 49-year-old Chili resident was one of more than 100 athletes who participated in this year’s USAW Beach Wrestling National Championships and World Team Trials.
The two-day competition is being held at Ontario Beach Park, 4800 Lake Ave., and was hosted by the Titan Wrestling Club of Penfield and the State University College at Brockport.
For Morone and the other mostly male competitors, wrestling barefoot in sand under the blazing sun was a definite environmental change from the typical indoor match on mats in a gymnasium.
He defeated Mike Poliszuk in a senior division match, one of several matches in which Morone wrestled. Contestants get three minutes to earn points for either pinning an opponent in the sand or pushing the opponent outside the wrestling ring.
“It’s very fast; one little mistake could be the end of it. I expect to be beaten up, “Morone joked. “I’m thankful to be healthy. I have to go to work on Monday.”
Created in 2005, beach wrestling is a nascent sport but one that is taking hold, said Ray Bruno of North Carolina, a referee who has more than 25 years’ experience officiating wrestling matches here and abroad.
“We have these events scattered throughout the country, “he said. “It’s actually a hands-on type of sport for a skilled athlete.”
The 21 winners Saturday advanced to the World Team Trials today. From that number, six will be selected to the team that will represent the United States at the World Beach Wrestling Championship in Turkey in September, said Gary Abbott, director of communications and special projects for USA Wrestling.
Shouts of “Shake him off! “were heard from the sidelines as the muscular wrestlers ” many sporting tattoos on their chests, backs and arms ” grabbed at shoulders, waists and thighs while trying to gain and maintain a foothold in the sand.
World championships aside, not everyone on the beach was focused on wrestling.
The American Power Boat Association’s Toyota Water Jam competition and the New York Beach Volleyball Championships were also held nearby, and music blared and people stretched out on towels to work on their tans.
Mike Rosselli, 17, of Ontario, has been wrestling for 10 years and looks at the beach competitions as a way to stay in shape. He also loves the dedication necessary to be successful at the sport.
On Saturday, Rosselli wrestled for the Titan Wrestling Club and beat James Carney in a junior division match. During the school year, he’s a member of the Wayne Central High School wrestling team.
“It’s easier to win on sand, “he said. “Any kind of (summer) wrestling helps your high school season.”