Wrestling is a sport where the best coaching and training can make a difference for any committed wrestler. USA Wrestling, as the National Governing Body of Amateur Wrestling can help wrestlers of many age levels. In conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee, wrestlers that demonstrate athletic achievement and potential can qualify for "Funded Access" status at the Olympic Training Center.
USA Wrestling's National Team Coaches, actively seek talented wrestlers throughout the year to train in Colorado Springs at the OTC. Once a wrestler's eyes are opened to the potential of training with the best coaches and wrestlers nationally, then the desire is often there to reach a higher level. Funded Access status is probably the best way for a
wrestler to step into a more challenging environment.
Essentially, Funded Access Status is a list of wrestlers from the Cadet, Junior, and Senior Levels that qualify for room, board, and facility use at the Olympic Training Center. Wrestlers that qualify can access the training center free of charge for National Team Camps that are held several times a year, and for Training Specials set up through USA Wrestling's Developmental Coaches for Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Without the Funded Access program, advanced training for wrestlers can be an expensive proposition with a $40 dollar charge for housing. Additionally, wrestlers that have not qualified for Funded Access Status require special approval from the Olympic Training Center staff. Wrestlers that only want to use the workout facilities must be approved
by the National Coaches for USA Wrestling.
To qualify for Funded Access Status a competitor must place at the corresponding rank in one of the following tournaments or at their age level. At the Senior Level ranking is also considered.
Ø National Senior Ranking- top 12 (8 weight classes)
Ø University Nationals- top 6 (Freestyle and Greco-Roman)-May 1-5th Evanston, IL
Ø World Team Trials- top 12 (Freestyle and Greco-Roman) June 20-23rd TBA
Ø U.S. Nationals- top 8 (Freestyle and Greco-Roman) April 25-27th Las Vegas
Ø NCAA Division I, II, III National Championship- top 8 (same names are used for Freestyle and Greco-Roman)
Ø NJCAA- top 6
Junior Level: (17-20 year olds)
Ø Junior Nationals- top 8 (both Freestyle and Greco-Roman) July20-27th Fargo
Ø Junior World Team Trials- top 6 (both Freestyle and Greco-Roman) May 16-19th Chattanooga, TN
Cadet Level: (15-16 year olds)
Ø Cadet Nationals- top 6 (Freestyle and Greco-Roman) July20-27th Fargo
Ø FILA Cadet Nationals- top 4 (Freestyle and Greco-Roman) May 1-5th Evanston, IL
Funded Access Status is gained by meeting one criterion at the corresponding age-group level. By attending the tournaments and earning a placement, wrestlers have a valuable reward in achieving Funded Access Status for one year.
The message from Steve Fraser, Head Greco-Roman Coach for USA Wrestling is clear, "Wrestlers need to get to these tournaments so they can take advantage of the facilities and programs that are available to them in Colorado Springs. Without achieving Funded Access Status it is very hard for USA Wrestling coaches to work with a wrestler."
Similarly, Kevin Jackson, Head National Freestyle Coach, states, "A big concern of mine is that wrestlers don't know about the programs that can benefit them---that's why we need to see wrestlers who are striving to be champions at these tournaments that earn Funded Access Status."
Once wrestlers take the time to earn Funded Access Status and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs they'll want to be there more often. According to Ike Anderson, Developmental Coach for Greco-Roman Wrestling, "Wrestlers at any level will be amazed by the facilities and quality of competition that they'll find on campus at the OTC. And, when they see that the benefit is provided to them cost-free, then they start checking their calendars to find out when they can come out the next time."
Wrestlers and coaches need to see the bigger picture, concerning why a wrestler should look to compete in tournaments such as the U.S. Nationals held in Las Vegas, or the University Nationals held in Evanston, Illinois. There are tremendous benefits available with USA Wrestling and the United States Olympic Committee for wrestlers wanting to advance their skills. USA Wrestling's National Teams Coaches want wrestlers to know about the special benefits and programs available. Once the folkstyle and collegiate season is over wrestlers should make sure that they achieve Funded Access Status by attending and performing well at the tournaments that are qualifiers.
If you need more information about how to qualify for Funded Access Status, or to take advantage of your Funded Access Status, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ted Witulski, NCEP Manager, at (719) 598-8181
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