All-Navy wrestler aims high

It’s not every day you hear someone say they have shot to make the United States Olympic team, so the fact NAS Whidbey has three wrestlers only a few steps away from the prestigious achievement might come as a shock to many.

Among those freestyle and Greco Roman grapplers who are members of the All-Navy wrestling team is 21-year-old AD3 Brad Miechur.

The 5-foot-3, 132 pound Miechur made the All-Navy team in the winter of 2001-2002 after competing in a regional qualifying tournament in Bremerton and coming out on the top of his weight class.

“There were 30 second matches with three periods to see what you got and they started picking people that way,” Miechur said. “I ended up wrestling three or four people in my weight class, but there was a whole room full of maybe 60 or 70 people.”

Greco and freestyle wrestling can be rather brutal compared to that of scholastic wrestling. Rules are limited and competitors can slam each other to the mat as hard as they want.

“Freestyle you can basically slam people all over the place and Greco Roman you can slam people but you can’t touch their legs,” Miechur said.

He saw just how tough the sport was after making the trip to NAS Pensacola last winter and and suffering an injury.

“Last year I got my rib cage cracked,” Miechur said.

He will give the three-month training camp another try beginning this January.

If he stays away from injury and finishes in the top 12 out of 30 wrestlers at the end of the training camp, he will be able to represent the Navy team, which competes in the Armed Forces Championships held in Quantico, Va.

Miechur feels good about his chances in Pensacola and advancing to the Armed Forces Championships.

“Yeah, I’ll do fine as long as I don’t get injured again,” he said.

If he does well at the Armed Forces Championships he could then earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

“That’s always been one of my dreams,” Miechur said.

He will receive plenty of guidance while training in Pensacola with a much respected former Olympic coach Rob Herman at the helm.

“He’s an excellent coach,” Miechur said.

Herman provides the wrestlers with a grueling schedule having two-a-day practices six days a week, beginning at 7 a.m.

The early start doesn’t seem to phase Meichur.

“It’s a fun schedule,” Miechur said. “It’s something that I like to do.”

Having to make trips to tournaments and other events has required patience and support from his co-workers, which has not been hard to come by.

“He’s going to go to the training camp again this year and I’m all for that,” AD1 Arnel Oli said. “It’s good for him, it motivates him and it’s good character build up.”

Some of those that work with him are surprised someone with such a quiet demeanor could be so good at a sport that involves so much intensity.

“He seems really quiet,” collateral duty public affairs officer for VQ-1, Lieutenant Junior Grade Matthew Lemley said. “He didn’t want a whole bunch of publicity before when I was talking to him about it but I’m glad he’s getting it.”

Miechur first gained his passion for the sport after growing up in a region where wrestling is put above all else.

“That whole Pennsylvania wrestling, that’s all they do,” Miechur said. “There’s more of a turnout going out for wrestling than for football.”

He first realized he wanted to be a wrestler 16 years ago at the age of five, after watching his older brother compete.

“When I was younger, he just had his head-gear laying down and I just picked it up,” Miechur said. “My dad was like, ‘looks like we have another wrestler.’”

His young start contributed to success at Nazereth High School where he lettered four years and placed second in districts as a sophomore. Injuries during his senior year hurt any chances he had of returning to districts or a possible trip to state. He took wrestling so serious that he gave up football and baseball his freshman year just so he could focus all of his attention on wrestling.

Miechur is unsure exactly when he will be heading down to Florida to begin training camp, but it will be before the end of January.

Two others from N.A.S. Whidbey will join Miechur in Pensacola. PRAN Randy Gulick and AM3 Dante Hale who also made the team last year will take on the best wrestlers the Navy has to offer.

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