Nick Marable wrestles at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Marable was a two-time All-American at Mizzou.
Feb. 28, 2014
-by Amanda Nusbaum, Mizzou Athletics Staff Writer
"We choose Tiger Style as a lifestyle, not because it is easy, but because it is difficult. We choose Tiger Style because its goals and expectations will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."
Nicholas Marable and Dom Bradley, both Mizzou Wrestling alums, participated in two international tournaments earlier this month, each emerging successful from two-week stints overseas. Their first stop in Paris for the Golden Grand Prix for an eight-day event, followed by a six-day trip to Istanbul for the Yasar Dogu.
Marable, who happened to win both tournaments, came away with much more than just two gold medals. He was also awarded monetary prizes at each for first place, but more importantly, he solidified a spot on the World Cup team. One of the biggest things he came away with, however, was more confidence. In the Yasar Dogu quarterfinals, Marable wrestled, and beat, Jordan Burroughs (USA). Regarded most often as the best wrestler in the world, Burroughs had accumulated 69 straight wins prior to his loss against Marable, a streak that started in 2009. Marable noted that their matches were always close, dating back to the US Open in 2011 when they first met. Burroughs congratulated Marable on his win, exemplifying the fact that their relationship is very competitive, but also professional.
Bradley, who wrestled at 125kg for both tournaments, came away from both with the bronze medal finishes. This was his first big taste of international tournaments, for which he was both "nervous and excited." This was also the first time he had wrestled freestyle since the US Open last year.
Sammie Henson accompanied the pair to Paris, but left them in the care of USA Wrestling's international coach, Zeke Jones, in Turkey. Now that they're back, Henson is prepared to train them a bit harder and differently at Missouri's regional Olympic training facility, located right next door to the Mizzou Wrestling facilities. Practices for Marable and Bradley aren't too different than they were in college, but with fewer people in the room, Henson is able to train them more individually.
On top of providing a place for wrestlers to continue training after college, the regional site also helps with strengthening the collegiate program. For Mizzou wrestlers looking to continue with wrestling after college, the ability to stay in the same place they've already been training in can be advantageous. Both Marable and Bradley agreed that staying at Mizzou has made their training easier.
"A big part of wrestling for me is being happy," said Marable. "Going somewhere I'm not comfortable would mean not being as happy and it would be much harder for me to train. Here, though, I know people and have good coaches and because I'm happy, I keep training hard."
Aside from the team being able to see that their dreams are within reach, they're actually able to train a bit with Bradley and Marable [Nick even serves as a volunteer coach for the team], allowing them to gain extra knowledge outside of their collegiate experiences.
Alongside Marable and Bradley, two-time female Olympic wrestler Clarissa Chun has been training at Missouri for just over a year. Chun, who won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, underwent shoulder surgery last April and has been rehabilitating since. In one of her first tournaments back from injury, Chun put together a couple wins by technical fall for a third place finish.
It's taken a year to fully implement Henson's system as their coach. It was incredibly important for them to buy into his methods in order for their training to actually work. Even Chun, who did not go to Mizzou, was willing to put her faith in the program and move here, as she believed Henson's training offered her something to grow her wrestling on. Bradley noted that Henson has been great from the start, coaching him for three weeks last year before the US Open, which Dom won. Henson, who is a silver-medal Olympian and World Champion, knows how to get it done at that next level.
"To start, you have to believe in your coaches. You get confidence from your training so you have to fully believe in your coach's philosophy, what you're being trained to do, and how you're being trained to do in order to actually believe in and be confident in yourself. I believed in my coaches and it worked."
It's also imperative to be coachable. Part of believing in the system is trusting what you're told to do and going above that. For Mizzou wrestlers, the foundation of their training is known as `Tiger Style'. The lifestyle means putting forth extra effort regardless of whether or not you get recognition. Each member must work to better not only himself, but also his team. Choosing the most difficult option is not done for the attention, but because it is the best way to improve.
"The whole fourth floor runs on Tiger Style and the `consistency wins' belief systems," Henson notes. "It all starts with [head coach] Brian Smith. The belief system Smith brought in and the support of his coaching staff and the athletic department as a whole are all part of it. We all had to buy into it in order for the program to be successful."
Henson makes an effort to live his life by his `consistency wins' mantra even now. He also hopes to impress that upon not only his MWF/Sunkist wrestlers, but the Missouri team, too. Part of the entire philosophy is to live out everything, not just wrestling, with the Tiger Style mindset, not excluding anything after college careers come to an end.
"I believe that I'm the best in whatever I do and that's the mindset that our guys are taking over there. They still live by Tiger Style even now, and that's why they're doing so well."
Next for Marable is the World Cup international team competition, taking place in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 15-16. Bradley won't compete again until the US Open beginning April 19, giving him almost two months to prepare. Just as in Marable's case, should Bradley win the US Open, he would then sit out for most of the World Team Trials tournament until the finals, where he will put his top-spot on the line. For now, Bradley has jumped right back into training, starting with the basics of watching film to pinpoint what he really needs to work on.
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