Wrestlers explore central Asia in mission tour
A group of wrestlers -- including a national champion from Augsburg and all-Americans from three Division III schools -- is in central Asia on a tour combining training and competition with mission and service work.
Augsburg coach Sam Barber is leading the group that includes six Auggie wrestlers -- including 125-pound champion Seth Flodeen -- as well as Olivet all-Americans Jason Brew (a runner-up at 157 pounds) and Kyle Vanderhyde and Maranantha Baptist’s Ben Hoover (runner-up at 165 pounds).
Also accompanying the group in its visits to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are Augsburg assistant coach John Peterson, a 1976 Olympic wrestling champion; Steve Barrett, a three-time Oklahoma State all-American in the mid-1970s who currently is a representative for Athletes in Action in Russia; and Ravshan Uraimov, a three-time national boxing champion from Kyrgyzstan.
Members of the group are posting observations in an online diary. Barber reported in the first entry that the group arrived “in great spirits” May 26 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This is Barber’s third overseas trip with a wrestling contingent, following a 1997 journey to England as an assistant coach with a National Wrestling Coaches Association Cultural Exchange program group, and a 2006 trip to Ukraine as head coach of an NWCA Division III Cultural Exchange group.
Last Tuesday, Flodeen wrote of the group’s recovery from jet lag and a morning practice with a local wrestling club. He also writes of visiting a bazaar and an Islamic church housing the world oldest Qua'ran.
Other members of the group have posted diary entries throughout the visit, describing training with local wrestlers and visits to cultural and historic sites.
The tour continues until June 8.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association