Stanghill Wins Dual in Belarus

Barrett Staghill Dual 2017

Photo and article by FivePointMove 11/13/2017

Yesterday, Barrett Stanghill (85 kg, Minnesota Storm) was one of seven United States Greco-Roman wrestlers to participate in a special one-off dual meet in Belarus. The whole thing was out of the ordinary. Set aside the dual format for a second, which obviously, isn’t offered too often for the Americans nowadays. The event on Saturday was not held in a gym or arena, but a community center. In the evenings, it’s a nightclub. The dancers looked more like they came out of central casting for an episode of The Sopranos rather than some local cheerleading studio. Fans? US National Team head coach Matt Lindland estimated there were around 700 of them, all packed in matside and up on the balcony. They were waving flags, both Belarusian and US, they were cheering, they were rowdy. They wanted to be heard.

The 23-year-old Stanghill flew over to Belarus last weekend in preparation for next week’s U23 World Championships, set to begin November 21st in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Ever since he touched down in Eastern Europe seven days ago, the schedule has been a busy one. Training, recovering, traveling, competing, and now, more training, what with the biggest tournament of his life now firmly on the horizon.

At the dual meet on Saturday, Stanghill earned himself a grinding win over Andrey Mikailovsky (BLR) that served as more than just an opportunity to compete in what was an altogether unusual atmosphere. It was also a sort of litmus test leading up to what is awaiting him in Poland. The competition at the Worlds may present its differences, but for an athlete like Stanghill who likes to keep busy, just getting out there, if only for one match, has its benefits. He can get the fire going, switch into battle mode, and feel for where any adjustments might come in handy. That he got his hand raised at the end, mattered, too. Naturally.

Given the uniqueness yesterday’s proceedings offered along with the fact that Stanghill is gearing up for a shot at a World medal right around the corner, we decided to get a quick word with him before crunch time fully settles in next week.

Barrett Stanghill — 85 kg, Minnesota Storm

On the atmosphere inside the venue

“It was sweet. Obviously, I haven’t really participated in duals before. In high school, we didn’t do duals because it was a super small school, so we would have quads, and up at Northern we didn’t. So this was really the first time I got the chance to be involved in a dual and it was great. It was in a nightclub and they hyped it up, they had videos, pictures of Coach (Matt) Lindland, all of us, and other team photos, and everyone in the crowd had a Belarus flag and an American flag. Everyone was right there, it was awesome. They even had an upper deck where it seemed like the more important people were (laughs). But it was awesome.”

On using the dual as preparation for the World Championships

“I think for me, it just kind of gauged where I was at in terms of conditioning and it really showed me that I need to score on my feet. The passivity points came, but there were definitely opportunities to score and I talked to Coach Lindland about scoring more. But really, it’s just about fine-tuning stuff and feeling good. It was kind of a pretty big confidence booster for me to wrestle at an overseas event like this and get the win, so it felt good.”

On what earning a win at Saturday’s dual means in terms of confidence heading into next week

“It’s a huge confidence boost. On the whole ride back, I was just thinking about how it is more of a reality now. Like you were saying before, this is the biggest tournament of my life coming up, and it does kind of freak you out. But to get that win kind of relaxed me, like, Alright, you’ve got it. Keep going but don’t freak out, because you’re in it with those guys.

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Belarus defeats USA, 4-3, in Greco-Roman D

FLASH: Belarus defeats USA, 4-3, in Greco-Roman dual meet in Grodno
By USA Wrestling | Nov. 11, 2017, 1:57 p.m. (ET)
Photo of U.S. Greco-Roman team in training in Belarus courtesy of Matt Lindland.

Barrett Staghill wins Belarus Duals at 85KG for Team USA

The United States was defeated 4-3 in a Greco-Roman dual meet against Belarus, in the western city of Grodno, on Saturday night.

The U.S. is currently in Belarus for training, with some of the athletes on the tour preparing for other competitions in the upcoming weeks. The team spent time at the Stayki Olympic Training Center in Belarus, before travelling to Grodno for the match.

Claiming victories for the USA in the dual meet were 2015 World Team member Patrick Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), Barrett Stanghill (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) and 2017 World Team member G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC).

Four U.S. athletes lost matches by technical fall in the dual meet. Names of their opponents and match scores will be posted when received.

Four athletes on this tour will compete in Poland at the U23 World Championships later this month, Stanghill and Hancock, plus Kamal Bey and Blake Smith.

BELARUS 4, UNITED STATES 3
At Grodno, Belarus
77 kg/169 lbs. – Nick Tarpley, loss by technical fall
80 kg/176 lbs. – Kamal Bey, loss by technical fall
85 kg/187 lbs. – Barrett Stanghill, won
87 kg/191 lbs. – Patrick Martinez, won
87 kg/191 lbs. – Kevin Radford, loss by technical fall
98 kg/215 lbs. – Blake Smith, loss by technical fall
130 kg/286 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, won

Guns, Bows, and Greco – Interview with 5-Point Move

By Abbie Rukdashel

Barrett Stanghill comes off as your average dude from Montana. He likes to hunt, fish and shoot his gun. He’s also a funny guy with a laid back, yet clearly-focused approach. When he isn’t spending his downtime in the great outdoors, the former Junior National Champion can be found hard at work at practice with the Minnesota Storm, one of the US’ premier Greco-Roman programs. It has been going in this direction for a while, however. Stanghill began this quest before he was even out of high school, as he bolted out early to Northern Michigan, a seemingly committed lifer and he hadn’t even turned 18 just yet.

Barrett StanghillLast year, the now 22-year-old Stanghill made the move from Marquette to Minneapolis to continue the hunt for not only a spot on the World Team, but he also has a trip to Tokyo on his mind a few years from now. There are some hefty tasks ahead and he knows this. It’s part of the process. But it doesn’t mean Stanghill is peering out into the distance. No, he feels he has a legitimate shot to make something happen soon. Like, really, really soon. Like next weekend in Las Vegas.

But before that happens, we thought it would be a good idea to see how one of the top 80 kilogram competitors in the country is doing before the main event next week and also, what he has found to be the most rewarding parts about training in Minnesota. Stanghill was candid — of course. On the level, unassuming, and enjoying the hard work Greco requires, this is one athlete who is easy to relate to.

Barrett Stanghill — 80 kg, Minnesota Storm
5PM: How did you decide on Greco full-time?

Stanghill: Well, I got into Greco after a camp at Northern. Then they asked me to come train for my Senior year of high school. Giving that up is kind of, well, I don’t want to say sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice. A lot of people told me not to do it, but I love Greco because it’s not the popular style here in the US, in my opinion, but it’s the toughest division in the world. To all the other countries you win in Greco, you’re a stud. It’s the most competitive and the most popular worldwide. I like that aspect. Plus, I was naturally better at Greco and that helped facilitate the decision for me. Then, I made the move here to Storm, and here I am, still going strong.

5PM: How has the adjustment been going from Northern Michigan to the Storm?

Barrett Stanghill: It’s been amazing for me. I have Type I Diabetes, so the way the schedule works in MInnesota works better for me. We do more one day of practice then on our own. Not to say I didn’t love Marquette, but it’s just been a really nice transition into the new practice schedule.

5PM: What have you noticed about the improvements in your approach and technique since you’ve been on full-time with Storm?

Stanghill: How do I say this? There are different techniques that I’ve picked up working with Coach (Dan) Chandler and also, just improving previous techniques I already had. I’ve been able to kind of dissect how I do things and do them a little differently than I was before. That’s part of the reason why everyone travels to Europe and Russia, to just pick up on little nuances and technique differences — how they’re hitting things differently and sometimes, picking up some different overall training.

5PM: 80 kilos is a particularly deep weight and certainly you have your eyes on winning and making the World Team. But what is it about you and Jon Jay Chavez?

Stanghill: The first time we wrestled was in Juniors for the World Team Trials finals. I ended up taking second to him, but we like to scrap. We have really close matches and similar styles as far as that goes. We both like to keep a tight position. He’s got really nice throws, but he’s smart about when he attempts them. He’s a fun guy to wrestle, but you get kind of frustrated, you know? Every time you lose it isn’t fun, but it is what it is. They’re cool Greco matches, but people aren’t like, Wow those aren’t huge throws those guys have, it’s more that we have really good position and are just fighting to get every little possible positional advantage we can. It’s always fun wrestling him.

5PM: What are the most important lessons you have learned over the past year becoming a full-fledged Senior?

Stanghill: I think the most important thing is that it’s just another level of competitiveness. Everyone’s talented. Every facet of your game has to be 100%. You have to have technique, you have to be in shape, and you have to have the mental attitude. The thing I’ve come the furthest with is mental attitude toward various matches and finishing takedowns. At the Senior level, you have to do everything right to get your point. You have to be more resilient, and you have to be able to tough it out. My mental toughness has to be on the top of its game day in and day out, but you can’t let technique and conditioning fall by the wayside. You have to have all those things to compete with the big dogs. You have to.

5PM: The rules are the rules, and the rules often change. The question is, how do you make the rules work for your style?

Barrett Stanghill: It’s just constantly training to whatever the rules may be and not really worrying about it. It’s about turning weaknesses into strengths. The rules change constantly, but as they say, wrestling is wrestling and I think that’s been showing. Constantly improving every day. Every aspect of your game has to be at the level you want to compete at. That’s the thing about at the National level and the world level is even bigger. Par terre offense and defense have to be good, and you have to be good on your feet. Otherwise, you’re going to get beat. You have to be good from every position.

5PM: The Hungarian Grand Prix might not have turned out how you probably hoped, but at the same time, you got a meaningful camp in over there. What are the keys to taking items you worked on in training camp and translating them over to competition?

Stanghill: The biggest things I took from the Hungarian camp was par terre mainly, with how great those guys were on top and how hard they score on the bottom. I’ve been trying hard to just work on par terre. Another thing the Hungarians do is that they are just excellent pummelers. I thought that was one of my stronger suits, but in comparison to them? (Laughs) There really is just a difference in their pummeling and movement. So I’ve been working on mine and improving my overall pummeling skills, I guess.

5PM: How would you describe yourself off the mat?

Stanghill: Off the mat I’m kind of laid back. I like to go hunting and fishing and just explore and have some fun. I try not to take things so seriously, so to speak.

5PM: What do you like to do to kind of blow off steam and clear your head?

Stanghill: Hunting and fishing is a good one. I like to talking to my mom and dad and hear friendly voices. Hearing them encouraging me in a tough sport like this is calming. I shoot my bow, I guess. Maybe a gu, I don’t know (laughs).

5PM: What was the moment in your career where you realized that you could become a successful competitor on both the National and World levels?

I think in New York. I ended up taking fourth, but I felt like I lost because of my mistakes and that they could be taken care of. I felt like there was also turning point for me at Nationals when I did take third. It clicked in my head that I was right there gunning for the top. I just kept on my path, kept on improving constantly. I thought I could maybe be in that top tier with all these guys, you know?

5PM: Vegas is a little over a week away. How are you feeling as time draws closer?

Stanghill: I’m feeling good, I’m excited. 80 is a stacked weight. That definitely makes it more fun,. Obviously, all of the weights are competitive, but 80 is the real deal this year. There’s a lot of top guys and a lot of guys who aren’t even ranked are there to fight. That makes it really fun. Just being out there and letting the chips fall where they may, it’s just a blast. I’m just really excited and ready to roll.

5PM: Of the guys at 80kg, who are you most excited to wrestle? Is there anyone you’re expecting to be the most challenging?

Stanghill: If I had to pick one of the many, I would be most excited to wrestle Geordan Speiller. We’ve been training together here in Minnesota this week. He’s fun to wrestle. He lets it fly. We always have some good battles. He teched me both times at the University Nationals, which I don’t like, but I’m looking forward to getting after him. I can’t say who’s the biggest challenge. It’s wrestling. Everyone is dangerous.

5PM: Finally, what’s the plan heading forward?

Barrett Stanghill: I’m definitely going to keep training with the Storm. I’ll just continue to take it year by by year and one Olympic cycle at a time.

Follow Barrett Stanghill on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with his Greco-Roman career and competitive schedule.

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