Part II: Cook and Titus make nationals
Freestyle wrestling is international wrestling, much like Greco-Roman wrestling. It employs more wrestling with the upper body and differs from folkstyle, like that used in high school and men’s collegiate wrestling.
Lincoln High wrestling head coach Greg Harlow described folkstyle as wrestling where you score points from the “down” position; whereas, freestyle points are earned by taking an opponent down and turning him or her.
Lincoln High wrestlers Lucas Cook and Kylie Titus (see “Lincoln duo to wrestle at nationals in July” in the June 14 Lincoln News Messenger) have made the transition in a big way. Both have qualified for the national freestyle wrestling championships at Fargo, N.D. in July, placing second and third respectively at the USA Wrestling Regional Championships at Fresno in April.
Next season, Titus will wrestle at MacMurray College in Illinois and Cook will enter his junior season wrestling with the Fighting Zebras as a heavyweight.
“Right around when I took second at state is when I started learning how freestyle worked,” said Cook. “Now my knowledge is complete. I had great coaches.”
Titus also picked up the change rather quickly, knowing she is going to have to wrestle freestyle when she reaches college. Although men’s collegiate wrestling is still folkstyle, women’s wrestling in college is freestyle.
Harlow said Titus has become his ambassador for girls wrestling. He said with more than 40 colleges and universities offering scholarships in women’s wrestling it has opened the door to a lot of opportunities for girls.
“We need more girls. We’re going to put more of an effort into getting those girls out here,” Harlow said. “Kylie has been great help for that. She’s a great poster (child) on what you can do here.”
Early on, Titus began working at Del Oro High’s summer camp for women’s collegiate wrestling. She said learning freestyle techniques allowed her to go from winning folkstyle matches at 101 pounds to qualifying for nationals in freestyle at 112 pounds.
“It’s just a lot of technique; learning to wrestle with technique instead of muscling people that really helps,” said Titus. “You need to know when to use technique and what technique to use.”
Titus plans to study nursing at MacMurray College and she has her sights set on making the USA Wrestling Team and competing on the world stage.
“Girls get the wrong idea of what it’s like. They think it’s all boys,” said Titus. “I practice with the boys, but in the tournaments I never see them again. You’re only competing against girls.”
_ To be continued