Tyler Nauman and Ty Lydic, assistant wrestling coaches for Seton Hill University, competed in the Copa Sparta International Wrestling Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico from Oct. 4-8. Lydic took home third place in the 70-kilogram weight class and Nauman won first place in the 74-kilogram weight class.
Nauman, who is a Harrisburg native, has a connection with LAW Wrestling in Lancaster, Pa. The organizer of the trip, Will Betancourt, invited Nauman and Lydic to join his team and travel with other members of the Pennsylvania National Team.
“I wrestle with our team and the club but I don’t really compete anymore,” Nauman said. “But the first thing I thought of was Ty. He does international wrestling, I’m going anyway to Puerto Rico, why not wrestle?”
Nauman has previously competed in Mexico, where he represented the U.S. men’s team for the Pan American Games. This was Lydic’s first time competing in another country.
“His weight class was probably toughest in the tournament,” Nauman said. “He definitely had some tough competition, and he ended up losing a tough match in the semis. We did fairly well.”
Nauman said one of the biggest changes was the style of wrestling used in the tournament. At SHU, folk style is utilized, while at Copa Sparta they used international style.
“Wrestling somebody that trains international, or freestyle, all the time was definitely an experience,” Nauman said. “The guy that I wrestled was a Greco guy, so he tried to throw me the whole time. I had to even change my style up a bit so I wasn’t able to be thrown. It definitely made me think.”
“I was able to learn new technique from the Puerto Rican wrestlers, observe and participate in a wrestling community of another country, as well as experience another country’s food and culture,” Lydic said. “I am definitely looking to make the trip next year and compete. Hopefully I get the chance to wrestle the Puerto Rican I lost to in the semifinals.”
A smaller tournament, the Copa Sparta International has showcased athletes from Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan and the United States. LAW has attended the competition for the past 10 years.
“The biggest thing for our team, or for me, is it doesn’t matter what style they wrestle or who they are,” Nauman said. “We didn’t know everybody there. We just wrestled and that helped.”
“Seton Hill has provided me amazing opportunities since I transferred in 2015,” Lydic said. “As a volunteer coach I have been able to remain active in the sport, working out daily with our team. I am being groomed as a coach and have been able to grow as an athlete during that process. I can’t thank Coach Tucker enough for the support and help in achieving my goals.”
Published By: Stephen Dumnich