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Robert Holbrook goes to the mat for shot at Olympics

By: Kaite Cartwright

June 09, 2007

Editor’s note: Katie Cartwright, who graduated from Corona del Sol High School in 2006, is home for the summer from classes at the University of California, Berkeley. During her stay at home, she is authoring a series of ‘Where are they now’ profiles for Wrangler News.

Upon returning home from college for the summer I began scrolling through Facebook, an Internet community geared toward college students similar to that of MySpace, in search of different people from high school.

Before long I came across the message “Robert, how was the OTC?” (short for Olympic Training Center) posted on Robert Holbrook’s “wall,” and I immediately took a second scan.

As an athlete, finding a reference to OTC is an instant trigger of both excitement and curiosity: Robert Holbrook working out at the Olympic Training Center?

As I came to find out, Robert spent a week, May 24-30, at the OTC’s Field of Juniors Freestyle trials, competing for a spot on the U.S. World Team.

Although he had missed the qualifying tournament, he had qualified last year and therefore was invited to compete. He had spent the first portion of the week at a camp and clinic in Colorado Springs before the tournament began.

Wrestling in the 96-kilo (211.5-pound) weight class, Robert took second in the challenge, placing him third overall as a result of the national champion automatically bypassing the tournament to the finals.

As the third-place finisher, Robert earned unlimited access to the Olympic Training Center any time he chooses to train there.

“It’s pretty cool because they feed you, and it is all you can eat,” he said. So any time I want to go back I pretty much just need a place to stay and I get fed and have a place to train all I want.”

A 2006 Corona del Sol graduate, Robert was an Arizona state champion and Corona’s 2006 Male Athlete of the Year.

Prior to competing at the OTC, he had just finished his first year at Duke University. As a redshirt freshman, Holbrook had the year to train and adjust, both academically and athletically, before officially competing next year for Duke.

The biggest difference in the wrestling Robert experienced at OTC was the emphasis on the mat because of how collegiate wrestling is scored, he said.

“The first semester and really even during season it was just such a huge adjustment, but after the season ended I got like 10 times better during post-season training,” he said.

Duke’s wrestling team was honored this year with the Award for the Highest GPA in college wrestling.

Robert says the theory on the team is to maintain above a 3.5 grade-point average, and most likely major in history. That, he says, will be the key to success.

Robert took that attitude going in and left for school with the mindset that it was going to be different than high school knowing that he was going to have to study and work hard.

He proceeded to earn a 3.675 GPA ranking him in the 20th percentile of his class and is presently considering a degree in chemistry.


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