North Carolina hires Kolat

CHAPEL HILL - Cary Kolat, former two-time NCAA champion and member of the 2000 United States Olympic Wrestling Team, is returning to UNC as Director of Wrestling Operations, Tar Heel head coach C.D. Mock announced. Kolat will also be the director and head coach of the North Carolina Olympic Training Center based in Chapel Hill.

Kolat was on the UNC staff for two years in 2002-03 and has worked on collegiate staffs at Lehigh, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Lock Haven, his alma mater. For the past two years, Kolat has been directing a private wrestling club in Maryland and operating Kolat.com, a wrestling training site.

"We are thrilled to have Cary back at Carolina," says Mock. "He's been an assistant coach at several other top wrestling schools. As director of the new Olympic Training Center, Cary brings some tremendous opportunities to our state. He is one of the premier trainers in the nation. Last year he coached Team Maryland in the Cadet and Junior National Championships and they performed exceptionally well.

"The Training Center is going to be an asset for amateur wrestlers and coaches throughout the state. There is so much to offer here; I am certain that Olympic hopefuls will come to Chapel Hill to train with Cary and other members of the Club."

Kolat won NCAA championships in 1995 and 1996 at Lock Haven and finished second as a freshman at Penn State in 1993. He finished his collegiate career with a 111-7 record. He went 137-0 in high school, winning four Pennsylvania state titles. In addition to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Kolat competed for the United States in a dozen other international competitions.

"Getting back to Chapel Hill has been a priority of mine, so to work with Coach Mock and his staff is a real privilege," says Kolat, who won World Cup gold medals from 1998-2000 and finished in the top four at the World Championships on three separate occasions. "Directing the Olympic Training Center gives me a chance to make a positive impact on my sport and help amateur wrestlers and coaches from around the state. The Training Center will not only attract some of the best wrestlers from around the country at the senior level, but will also help boost wrestling in North Carolina at all levels. Local athletes can watch, learn from, and train with some of the best wrestlers competing to make the 2012 Olympics and other international teams."


Accident kills Pleskovich, Gilmore

Mike Pleskovich, who wrestled for Fort Cherry High School until graduation in 2007, was killed when the car he and his friend, Jenna Gilmore, were riding in was hit head-on by another vehicle driven by Charles Cooper of McDonald early Sunday morning. Gilmore also died in the accident. Pleskovich was a 2007 graduate of Fort Cherry and was attending Clarion University. Gilmore was a 2007 graduate of Avella High School and also was attending Clarion, where she was a 4.0 student. Both were 21.

If you would like to leave a message of condolence for Pleskovich, you can do so at www.salandrafunerals.com. Memorial contributions in Gilmore's memory can be made to the American Diabetes Research Foundation.


Michael Blouse of lehighvalleylive.com did a column on my good friend Rod Frisco, who left the Harrisburg Patriot-News after 25 years of covering wrestling. Rod is the most knowledgable wrestling writer I ever met and a fantastic writer. Thought you might enjoy the read:

His business card describes him as an "expert" -- and he is indeed. Rodney "Rod" Frisco, the retired sportswriter from The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, is the foremost authority on scholastic sports in Pennsylvania.

Frisco's sports specialties while working for 25 years at the Patriot were football, wrestling and track and field. But the 52-year-old father of teenage triplets recently decided, with the decline of newspapers and advancement of online communication, it's time to try something else. So, Frisco launched rodfrisco.com, a site devoted to each and every high school sport statewide.

His site features fresh daily content, including frequent opinion pieces called the "Daily Rant." Though still in the early stages, rodfrisco.com will soon be THE place to find facts, figures and records for all scholastic sports throughout the Keystone State, and is already a very worthwhile site. It also includes "The Ticker," which provides links to featured stories from around the state in various sports. Frisco, who hosts weekly live chats, said he is currently averaging about 1,000 pageviews per day. So check it out.

And not only is Rodney (I'm the only one, besides maybe his wife Debra on certain occasions, who calls him Rodney) a Hall of Fame sports reporter, he is also one of the nicest, funniest people I've met in this business filled with lunatics and hangers-on. Rodney took a chance, and hopefully it pays off.

This promotional piece for Mr. Frisco, aka "The Round Mound of Takedown" (wrestling is his favorite sport), is now officially complete.

Koscheck wins

Former NCAA Division I college wrestling champs Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck came out winners in their matches at UFC 113 Saturday evening at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Hendricks, a two-time NCAA champ (and four-time NCAA All-American) at 165 pounds in 2005 and 2006 for Oklahoma State, won a majority decision over T.J. Grant of Canada. While the MMA website Sherdog.com scored the bout with Grant winning the first and second of three rounds, the official scores were 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28 for the former Cowboy wrestler. Hendricks now improves to 8-0 in professional MMA competition.

Koscheck, a Waynesburg High School graduate who won the 174-pound crown at the 2001 NCAAs for Edinboro University in Pennsylvania (and like Hendricks, earned All-American honors four times), earned a unanimous decision over Paul Daley in what was one of the two main events of UFC 113. All three officials scored the match 30-27 for the former Fighting Scot, whose MMA record now stands at 15-4.

The fight was marred at the end when, after time had expired, Daley threw a left hook that connected with Koscheck's right eye, opening a small cut. The referee restrained Daley, who apparently has been booted from the UFC.

With the win, Koscheck is expected to be next in line to challenge current UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre later this year.

New rule on concussions

Found this article from the York Dispatch newspaper by Jeffrey Johnson:

Last month, at a meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee adopted an interesting new rule.

Starting with the 2010-2011 season, "any contestant who shows signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed immediately from the match and shall not return to competition until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional."

This differs from the previous rule, which directed officials to remove an athlete from competition if "apparently unconscious."

Of course, pundits will argue that this change could lead to trouble. Referees may be put in some tense, rather difficult situations when a head injury is sustained in a match. They'll be asked to basically render a medical opinion on the spot.
Ultimately, though, this rule is about protecting wrestlers and their futures. No one should be arguing against that.
"Many times we've had wrestlers who are hitting the mat hard and maybe it's not a concussion," Spring Grove High head coach Tony Miller said back in the winter. "(But) you err on the side of safety. (Two seasons ago), there were two times we stopped matches with kids we weren't sure."

Which is exactly the way you would hope all wrestling coaches approach head injuries.

Sure, it's a sport that rewards courage and requires one to fight through pain regularly. But why not be smart about this? Why not err on the side of caution, as Miller said?

That way there will be no long-lasting health ramifications for high school wrestlers, meaning we can all breathe a little easier.

Jeffrey A. Johnson covers high school wrest ling for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at jjohn son@yorkdispatch.com or 505-5406.