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Old 03-17-2009
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Curby Looking Forward to World Team Trials

By Seth Schwartz
Special to Illinois Matmen

Elite wrestlers work endlessly to climb the next step.

Entering the prime of his career, Jake Curby has made a steady ascent in the 145-pound Greco-Roman class. After finishing sixth at the Olympic Trials and second at the world team last year, he took first place at the Dave Schultz Memorial International Invitational at Colorado Springs, Feb. 5-8, 2009 with convincing victories over C.C. Fisher [New York Athletic Club] 6-0, 6-3 in the semifinal and Kerry Regner [Sunkist Kids] 2-0, 3-0 for first place.

“I do think long term, but I am trying to take it year-by-year and make the world team [this June],” said Curby.

With Harry Lester and Jake Dietchler moving up to 163 pounds, Curby is in position to be No. 1 in the nation at 145 pounds.

Coach Ivan Ivanoff knows Curby is maximizing his talents.

“I am very proud of Jake,” said Ivanoff. “He started from scratch and earned his way to No. 2 in the nation. He’s a very disciplined individual; he believes in my plan. He’s very effective in throwing. He’s in a tough weight class. At this point, he’ll be our best shot for the London Olympics [in 2012].”

Nothing has come easy for the Lyons Township graduate. But long hours on the mat have born fruit the last couple years.

The Curby’s, father and son, made a decision for Jake to pursue Greco-Roman instead of wrestling at the college level. The primary reason was Ivanoff, who came on as head coach at Northern Michigan University.

“I met Ivanoff at a clinic my sophomore year with my dad [Dave] and was impressed,” said Curby. “I like the upper body style. I wasn’t that heavily recruited out of high school]. I came up here [to Marquette, Mich.] two weeks after high school and felt comfortable. I knew what coach Ivanoff could turn me into.”

The baptism at Northern Michigan was trying. His first year he would retire to his room after practice and take a nap. By the third season, Curby’s offense took shape and he began to rack up a few wins.

“Once I started learning how to score I was able to win some matches,” said Curby.

Now he’s become an adroit technician able to score from a number of positions.

“I started to gain confidence my third year,” said Curby. “The next year they had the rule change and it took me a while to get comfortable in the clench position. I lifted a lot to get stronger in my back and core [muscles].”

“What’s good about our program is the coaches want you to be creative and try new things. Everyone is not a cookie-cutter; they don’t want you to get stuck in a box. Everyone has a different body-type. Our coaches find a way for each person to be successful. I feel comfortable with my throws, I am trying to find different ways to set it up. At this level everyone is strong. You need to be able to put your opponent in a position where you can score.”

In 2007. he was sixth at world team trials. He took bronze at the World Pan Ams, a bronze in Tiblisi, Georgia champ at Slovenia Grand Prix and won the NYAC Open and Sunkist International.

“At this level everyone is strong,” said Curby.

Curby is a coach’s delight.

“There’s a big difference between knowing technique and being able to apply it,” said assistant coach Jim Gruenwald. “Jake is at the point where he believes in himself and the coaching staff.”

“On top he has a solid gut wrench and lift. On his feet he has a real nice outside duck and great arm throw. Jake has all the tools to grind his way to a world championship. Jake has what you want in any athlete: he has a great attitude and is very coachable. He has the technique and mental toughness. We’re just fine tuning and bringing everything together.”

After graduating with a degree in history last June, Curby will stay in Marquette to continue training and pursue a degree in economics. If he ever needs direction on the mat, Curby knows where to turn.

David Curby, an Ann Arbor native, was a Big 10 champion for Michigan in 1975 and moved to Lyons Township High School in 1976 where he joined Michigan alum Mark King’s staff. Along with Otto Zeman [1990-98] they elevated LT into a perennial state power, producing 33 state placers and six state champions, from 1977-2003. Older brother Nick placed fifth (1998, 189), wrestled at Illinois and is now the head coach at Plainfield East. Younger sister Courtney is a junior midfielder on the soccer team at St. Johns.

Always training hard, Curby had a set of keys to the gym and would go in for extra work frequently with Ryan McMurray and Dan Zeman. But his workouts where put on hold when he began to feel sick in the spring of his sophomore season. He went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with leukemia. Doctor Manera Ricarchito, head of oncology at Loyola Cancer Center in Maywood, said he had a 70 percent chance of survival. Immediately, Curby underwent chemotherapy from June to November.

He was back on the mat in December. As a senior, Curby beat Mount Carmel’s Brian Harney, the eventual state champion, in the sectional and ended up taking fifth at state.
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Old 04-13-2010
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He is the real guy from the world of wrestling..
He knows the rules of the game and the way he beat his opponent is awesome..
He have got the guts the style...
May you live long...
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