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TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

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Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

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TheMat.com interview with Jenny Wong, the 2002 U.S. Nationals women's freestyle champion at 51 kg



Jenny Wong of the Sunkist Kids claimed her first U.S. Nationals title in 2002, taking the gold medal at 51 kg. She was second at the 2001 U.S. Nationals, and has been a top age-group athlete in USA Wrestling programs. One of four women wrestlers on the Lock Haven University men's teams, Jenny is seeking her first spot on a U.S. Senior World Team. TheMat.com caught up with Jenny as she was training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in preparation for this month's World Team Trials. TheMat.com: Explain your thoughts and feelings about winning your first national title this year. What was the key to winning the tournament for you? Wong: I have been working toward that for a number of years. It was nice to move up each year and see my progress. I didn't wrestle to my best, but it was enough to win. Danielle Hobeika has improved a lot and I have to give her credit. I felt going in that I had to fight it out, keep going and going all the time. My second period in the finals was awful, though. It was rewarding to win, definitely. It does show me how much farther I have to go to be where I want to be." TheMat.com: Let's talk about college. You first went to Wisconsin then transferred to Lock Haven. How have things worked out for you? Wong: At Wisconsin, when I was in the room, it was a good workout. It was challenging. There wasn't anybody there at my level. It was very hard. I didn't feel quite welcome in the room. It's a big thing, the atmosphere in the room and feeling supported. When it didn't work out for me, I went to Lock Haven. It has been great. The small school atmosphere helped me; the teachers all know that you are an athlete and help out. The coaches were great, too. They didn't have to help me, but they chose to. They wanted to see me be successful. The guys at Lock Haven are supportive. They will work out with you if you need it. You just have to ask. Having girls there is also good, too. It has been a good situation for me." TheMat.com: Now that coach Carl Poff has retired, do you expect things to change with new coach Rocky Bonomo? Wong: It will be quite similar. Rocky was with Carl for many years. We are still waiting to see who the new assistant coach will be. Rocky has said that he expects to do things like Carl did with the program. TheMat.com: Has it helped you to train with men in a college wrestling room? Wong: Wrestling guys is different than the girls. It's good, but you also have to get the workouts in with the girls, too. Some things won't work with guys that you can do with the girls, because of how our bodies are built, especially with flexibility. The guys, because many have wrestled since they were five years old, have more technique that they can teach us. TheMat.com: What do you feel you need to improve in order to reach your goals in international wrestling? Wong: I'm working on being more offensive, working on my setups and getting after my opponents. I would like to keep the pressure on constantly, and not give them any rest time. I am also working on cleaning up my technique. TheMat.com: What coaches and individuals have made a difference in your career? Wong: I'd say Ed Kane and Dan Chandler. I started in Minnesota, and was coming into the freestyle and Greco-Roman room for practice. They helped me and made me feel like I was worth their time. That meant a lot to me. Coming out of a guys wrestling room, you are not always the priority. They taught me so much and made me feel like my time was worthwhile. TheMat.com: How is your preparation for the World Team Trials, and are you excited about the possibility of making your first Women's World Team? Wong: I'm not quite thinking about the matches at the Trials. I am concentrating on getting prepared. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm not thinking about the Worlds; I am concentrating on the Trials. My coaches tell me to take them one match at a time. TheMat.com: How has the Sunkist Kids club helped you as an elite athlete? Wong: Art Martori and Joe Corso are so great. It is awesome how supportive they are to women's wrestling. It's like a family. You can ask any Sunkist coach to coach you and they will help. It is nice to be on a girls team. With the caliber of the athletes they choose, it made me feel like it was a huge honor to be with the Sunkist Kids. I treasure that and am grateful about that every day.
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