Travel comes with the territory in high school wrestling, but rarely to the extent two Brusly grapplers recently experienced.
Defending state champions Trevor Schermer and Barrett Sanchez were among the American competitors to compete in a freestyle tournament in Auckland, New Zealand and a beach wrestling meet in Sydney, Australia.
Schermer finished the nine-day tour 11-2 overall and Sanchez posted a 4-4 record.
Schermer placed first in beach wrestling and third in freestyle.
“It was a well put-together tournament, the land was beautiful and the wrestlers were pretty tough,” Schermer said. They have some pretty tough wrestlers there.”
Both wrestlers faced competition not only from the toughest regions around the state, but from the wrestling-rich nations of Australia and New Zealand.
“It was a great experience,” Sanchez said. “I was glad to go even if I wasn’t successful because it exposed me to great competition both internationally and from the states.”
The wrestlers faced another challenge they seldom endured at home. Grapplers did not know anything about their opponents prior to the meet.
“I knew nothing about any of those guys,” Schermer said. “I didn’t know what to expect and had to be ready for whatever happens.
“It was truly different,” he said. “But at the same time, you picked up on other people’s styles and once you’ve seen it you know how to stop it.”
Beach wrestling was an obstacle in itself.
According to the rules, knees and hands cannot touch the ground.
“That was tough,” Sanchez said. “You try to get used to touching without the knees shaking, and you’re wrestling in a square instead of a circle.”
Sanchez lost his only beach match against a grappler from Washington state. But he managed to score the point against his foe, who was a Top 8 seed in the prestigious Fargo All-America High School Tournaments.
Wrestling did not pose the only challenge. Sanchez and Schermer embarked on a 25-hour flight — with layovers in Dallas and Los Angeles — en route to Syndey, and finally Auckland.
The 16-hour time difference put a huge dent in their sleep pattern, Schemer said.
“It was hard the first couple of nights, “ he said. “Over there, they were a whole day ahead of us in the states, so it was really different.
“Cross the international dateline, and you’ll lose a whole day of sleep,” Schermer said.
The flight itself proved grueling, Sanchez said.
“They gave us food and beverage, but we got there and it took us a while to get used to it,” he said. “I’d get up early, but I still couldn’t get used to it.
“Now that I’m back, I’m trying to get used to the pattern here,” Sanchez said.
Schermer said he will appreciate the different styles, as well as seeing kangaroos frolicking in open areas.
“It wasn’t at all intimidating,” he said. “In fact, it was pretty cool.”