photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Today the Southeast Regional Training Center (SERTC) announced a huge addition to its lineup of Senior-level athletes. Two-time world medalist James Green will be joining the SERTC after spending the last nine years at the University of Nebraska, first as a student-athlete, then as a postgraduate chasing world and Olympic teams. The SERTC is a club for the Virginia Tech wrestling team and is led by the school’s head coach Tony Robie. The club currently has Ty Walz, a volunteer assistant for the Hokies, as a resident-athlete who has qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2021. Robie stated in adding Green he, “hopes that it takes the SERTC to another level.”
Since finishing his collegiate career as a four-time All-American for the University of Nebraska, Green has been a fixture world and national teams for the United States. James has made the world team at 70 kg in every year since 2015. He was able to bring home a bronze medal in that first appearance at the World Championships, in Las Vegas, then added a silver medal two years later in 2017. After winning bronze in 2015, Green cut down to 65 kg in an attempt to make the 2016 Olympic Team and did not look like the same wrestler. Now, he’ll try to make the 2021 squad at 74 kg, the same weight class as his friend and former training partner, Jordan Burroughs. With that in mind, it makes sense that Green would seek a new training situation ahead of the Trials.
Another reason why this move seems like a strong fit on both sides is the presence of 2019 NCAA Champion Mekhi Lewis at 165 lbs and 74 kg. Robie says that the two, “are about the same size, both already have a good relationship and they’re both New Jersey guys.” He expects that Green will “be a training partner and a mentor for Mekhi. Mekhi has big goals internationally, not just to be an NCAA champion, so I think James can show him how to be successful inside and outside of the wrestling room.” Despite being a relative newcomer to freestyle, Lewis already has won a Junior World title in 2018 and made the 2019 Senior National finals, locking up a spot at the Olympic Trials. Aside from Lewis, the Hokies have a ton of young talent that also will benefit from rolling with the two-time world medalist. Robie pictures incoming freshman Clay Ulrey, along with second-year wrestlers Bryce Andonian and Connor Brady, all getting to work with Green, as well. From Green’s point of view, he’ll also get the tutelage of 2012 66 kg Olympian Jared Frayer, the SERTC’s development coach and an assistant at Tech.
“This is exactly what the RTC is set up for,” said Robie. “We’re retaining (Ty) Walz and getting a guy that has had a lot of success domestically and internationally. I want to thank all of our contributors that helped make this happen. We’ve had 300 separate donors in a calendar year and this is why it’s important”.
With all of the uncertainty in the world today, it’s unclear exactly when Green will relocate to Virginia from Nebraska. Robie is hoping that Green will be able to join the SERTC in “mid-to-late July,” but that’s still up in the air.