Chase beats LaValle for FILA Junior Greco-Roman World Team spot
By Jason Bryant
Special to TheMat.com
Rochester, Minn. -- The few similarities between Illinois’ Jimmy Chase and Minnesota’s Justin LaValle are notable.
Both graduated from high school wrestling powerhouse programs, LaValle from Apple Valley; Chase from Glenbard North. Both have been nationally ranked during their high school careers and both have chosen to wrestle collegiately at schools in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Wednesday, the two met for the second time this off-season in a special wrestle-off to determine the FILA Junior World Team member at 60kg prior to the USA Wrestling Cadet National Duals at the University Center in Rochester, Minn.
Chase, the winner at FILA Junior Nationals, deferred his option to wrestle in the FILA Junior World Team Trials to concentrate on the Senior World Team Trials held the last weekend in May in Council Bluffs.
LaValle, an Old Dominion signee, would face Chase, a Binghamton signee to determine who would represent the United States later the first week of August in Ankara, Turkey.
Chase drove six hours from suburban Chicago to weigh-in last night, while LaValle drove down about sixty minutes.
"It was a little bit easier for him traveling. He could cut weight at home, I had to cut weight when I got here," said Chase.
Chase won the best-of-three series in two matches, winning the first 2-0, 1-0 and the second 0-2, 3-0, 2-0. LaValle was five seconds away from forcing a third match, but Chase used a front-headlock exposure from the reverse lock in the closing seconds of the third from the top position to clinch the series and make his second straight Junior World Team.
“In Vegas (at Nationals), he got me on that high reverse and I knew he was pretty good at it,” said LaValle. “He got that high reverse again and ended up getting me with about four-five seconds left. It could have went three periods if I would have dug a little deeper.”
Chase found the win reassuring after his self-described poor performance at the World Team Trials in Council Bluffs.
‘I’d say getting my (butt) kicked pretty bad by (Glenn) Garrison and Chad Vandiver made me put it in gear, thinking I got a little arrogant about my wrestling and kinda made me bring it back,” said Chase.
After wrestling twice in Greco-Roman this spring, the two could be meeting on the mats and even training together come college.
“We’ll be wrestling for about five years now,” said LaValle.
“Depending on what weight I go next year and what weight he goes next year, since we’re obviously close to the same size, we’ll be battling in conference and in dual meets and everything,” said Chase. “It’ll be good to have someone to train Greco with, maybe by my weight.”
The two could have also been teammates.
“I know Old Dominion is more up and coming, because Binghamton was recruiting me too, they were telling me about their Greco stuff. But I felt more comfortable at Old Dominion,” said LaValle. “They’re both real nice schools.”
Another angle to this story is the University Center venue -- both have wrestled in the facility before at The Clash National High School Duals. Chase has fond memories of the event and the facility.
“We didn’t even know it was going to be here until about 10 minutes before weigh-ins when I had to check all my e-mails and we just got in here right on time to weigh in,” said Chase. “Once I walked in here, I was excited, it was familiar to me, brings back good memories.”
Neither will sit around Minnesota to watch the Cadet National Duals. LaValle has orientation in Norfolk, Va., while Chase has surgery set for 8 a.m. Thursday to remove a cyst in his foot back in the Chicago area.
For Chase, perhaps the familiar atmosphere and a budding rivalry is what he needs to bring home a medal in Turkey.
“I’m just going to have to work with everything I get, starting with Junior Worlds in August,” said Chase.
VIDEO INTERVIEW with Jimmy Chase after his win
SEE VIDEO of both matches of Chase vs. LaValle Wrestleoff