It wasn’t all that long ago that Ty Pelot didn’t care for Greco-Roman-style wrestling events.
Now, the Two Rivers senior wrestler is going to spend his college years working to become one of the best Greco wrestlers in the nation. He signed his letter of intent to train at the US Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University, on Friday afternoon at Two Rivers High School.
“I remember when he was nine-years-old, we had to force him to do Greco at Northern Plains and Greco at Nationals. He hated it,” Scott Pelot, Ty’s father and coach at X-Factor Elite Wrestling Club said. “He didn’t even do the state tournament in Greco that year, he just did freestyle.
“The following fall, he understood why Greco was important and he was getting better at Greco and it became his thing. As a father and as a coach, it’s one of those great things to see him grow. He knows that he can go up there and train with the best and he’s going to make big strides.”
Just last week, Ty wasn’t completely sure where he wanted to continue his wrestling career. However, after a strong showing at the FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas, it all became clear.
Pelot finished seventh, earning him All-American status. He even recorded a win over Travis Rice (Illinois), who is currently training at the USOEC.
“He was probably the best in the bracket. I lost two close matches, but I know I was capable of competing with them already without proper training,” Ty said. “I knew if I went here, I would have a much better chance of succeeding and doing more than if I went the typical, folkstyle route.”
He will attend classes at NMU and will need to carry at least 12 credits per semester. Pelot’s formal training regimen will consist of a two-hour, morning workout and a two hour afternoon practice, five days per week.
“Wrestling is what I love to do,” Ty Pelot said. “So just being able to focus on that and really trying to be the best I can and getting the training that I need, that’s going to be really nice.”
In folkstyle competition, Pelot wrestled varsity for three seasons at Two Rivers. He had to sit out his freshman campaign after he transferred schools. He accumulated a career record 137-11, earning three State berths, placing third twice.
“I think it’s just kind of cool that he got the opportunity to do this and has the ability to do this,” Two Rivers head coach Paul Gehrke said. “It’s always nice to see kids take it to the next level, beyond high school. Let’s face it, a lot kids say it’s too tough. It’s a grind. After battling on the mat and in the classroom, sometimes it’s too overwhelming. Ty is definitely a guy who can handle it all. He has a lot of ability and he’s a smart kid. I’m excited to see what the next couple years hold for him.”
Though he wasn’t a fan of it at first, Pelot has racked up quite the list of superlatives in Greco wrestling — a style of wrestling where competitors are not allowed to attack their opponent’s legs. Now he is ready to take that next step.
Pelot will continue to compete at the 60-kilogram (132-pound) weight class where he has been competing since the completion of the high school folkstyle season. He will spend a week at the training center in June before moving to Michigan in August, in preparation for the upcoming school year.
Ty’s father believes the training center will allow his son to experience a wrestling room from a different perspective.
“He’s always been the hammer, per se, in our room for years. There’s never really been anybody that’s better than him,” Scott Pelot said. “I think going up there is going to make a big difference. Being a nail for awhile will make him one of the biggest hammers in the United States, eventually.”
Once he is acclimated to the caliber of competition at the USOEC, Ty Pelot believes he can excel.
“At first, I just want to be able to compete and wrestle the style well,” Ty said. “Once I do that, I know I can, eventually, maybe contend for a World Team berth and be the top in the country. I know I can be in the top-10, maybe top-5 before I graduate. That’s what I’m looking for.”