Baltimore Sun

Richard Fedalen, 72 kilograms, Greco-Roman


The Scaggsvill­e resident is no stranger to the Greco-Roman discipline, a form of wrestling that prohibits holds below the waist and consequent­ly promotes the ability to throw an opponent. Fedalen finished second at 63 kilograms in Greco-Roman wrestling at last summer’s World Team Trials and Pan American Championsh­ips.

“I feel like I have a natural build for Greco-Roman,” said Fedalen, who wrestled at 152 pounds during the winter and was named The Sun’s All-Metro Wrestler of the Year. “My freestyle and folkstyle wrestling is upper body-oriented. So I decided to pursue that.”

In a move exemplifyi­ng his commitment to the style, Fedalen — who will wrestle at Columbia — hired in early April private coach Jay LaValley, founder of JOwrestlin­g and former chairman of the Maryland State Wrestling Associatio­n.

Three weeks later, Fedalen captured the 72-kilogram title at the U.S. Open and then followed up with similar wins at the World Team Trials and Pan American Championsh­ips.

“I always visualized myself winning that,” he said of his victory at the U.S. Open, which included winning his first three matches by a combined score of 26-0 and then decisively triumphing in the final. “But how that happened, I was pretty dominating. I got a tech fall in the finals, and I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. I anticipate­d that being a war of a match, a really tight one. After that, that gave me a lot of confidence heading into the trials.”

LaValley said he has sought to improve Fedalen’s ability to battle on the inside, grabbing wrists and elbows when contact occurs to gain control in certain positions and move the opponent to more advantageo­us positions.

“It’s one of the few wrestling styles where you actually get better as you get older, and that’s kind of what I’m seeing in Richard,” LaValley said. “He’s so focused and homed into Greco-Roman since April, and he’s getting better every single day. … He’s very strong and determined obviously, and he learns quick. But he didn’t have a lot of the small, finer details, and that’s what we have really been working on.”

Because European and Asian wrestlers have been wrestling the Greco-Roman style since they were children, Fedalen and LaValley have spent a considerab­le amount of time studying potential opponents on film. Fedalen said his biggest opposition might be European champion Robert Attila Fritsch of Hungary.

Still, Fedalen said he is not lowering the bar.

“I go into every tournament that I enter with the expectatio­n to win,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. Pretty much all of the Europeans have been doing Greco. That’s the only style they’ve wrestled. So it’s kind of like the cards are stacked against me, but I’ve always had the expectatio­n to win.”

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