Council Bluffs, Ia. ” Greco-Roman wrestling got to be a drag for Mark Rial, especially after a subpar showing at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
A move back to Cedar Falls, where his college wrestling career began, helped Rial get back on friendly terms with the wrestling style that allows only upper-body moves.
Rial, a state champion at Fort Dodge and an assistant coach at Northern Iowa, made the finals of the 145.5-pound weight class in the Greco-Roman challenge tournament at Mid-America Center on Sunday. He faced reigning National Open champion Faruk Sahin in a best-of-three series for a spot on the World Championships squad Sunday night.
In freestyle, Iowa assistant coach Jared Frayer at 145.5 and Bryce Hasseman of Iowa City at 185 pounds, along with Northern Iowa assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev at 264.5, faced National Open champions to determine the rest of the squad that will compete in Denmark in September.
Frayer was to face former Iowa State NCAA champion Trent Paulson – who grew up in Council Bluffs – while Hasseman met Jake Herbert and Dlagnev faced former Iowa and Oklahoma State NCAA champion Steve Mocco.
Rial was thinking he was done with Greco-Roman after the disheartening Olympic trials. He was living in Colorado Springs, training in Greco-Roman as if it was a full-time job.
“I took a step back, took some time off, became a father and moved back to Iowa and started coaching, “Rial said. “That got me going a little bit. January rolled around and I was like, ‘I feel good and I’m in decent shape, (National Open) is a couple months away, and I can get in shape for that.’ ”
Rial said just being in the practice room at Northern Iowa was good for him.
“It made it fun, actually, “Rial said. “I think I put too much pressure on myself when I lived (in Colorado Springs). If I didn’t win, oh my gosh the world’s going to end. Now I’m just going out having a good time.”
After losing the first round of the semifinals to Kerry Regner of Sunkist Kids, Rial got three turns with a front headlock for a 6-0 win and then a turn late in the third round for a 2-0 victory.
Rial said the front headlock is one of his best moves.
“Once I get that lock on people, it’s pretty dangerous, “Rial said.
Late moves helped Frayer reach the best-of-three finals Sunday. He got a 2-point exposure move with 52 seconds left to beat Darrion Caldwell of Sunkist Kids. In their first match, Caldwell and Frayer each had two points, but Frayer won the criteria because his was a two-point move.
In the semifinals against Iowa’s Brent Metcalf, Frayer won the first round in overtime with a clinch move and then got a second win on a takedown with 3 seconds left.
Hasseman lost the first round 1-0 against ex-Oklahoma State NCAA champion Chris Pendleton, but scored a fall in the second round to win the challenge tourney.
Dlagnev gave up two points in a pair of wins at 264.5.