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Ex-Countryside wrestler looking for another chance at Olympics

At the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., a group of wrestlers grunt and sweat and grapple with one another on the rubber mats.

This is where Jared Frayer, a former Countryside High standout, finds pure joy. He works out six hours a day, six days a week in the sweat-reeking, fluorescent-lit, low-ceilinged claustrophobia of the wrestling room.

His training schedule keeps his mind fresh and his body sound for his ultimate goal: a spot on the U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team that has long eluded him.

Frayer, 29, will find out if his preparation has paid off Saturday when he competes in the 145.5-pound (66 kilogram) weight class at the Olympic trials in Las Vegas.

"I feel this is my best shot," Frayer said. "I've put a lot of work in because I know how tough my weight class is."

How tough?

Of the 13 wrestlers in his weight class, Frayer is the only one who has not won an NCAA Division I title.

"There's not much separation from top to bottom," Frayer said. "I've beaten everyone in the weight class. I've lost to them, too. That's why I wanted to be prepared."

This is the third time Frayer has qualified for the trials. In 2000, he skipped it because he was a junior at the University of Oklahoma, and he said he felt he wasn't ready.

At the 2004 trials, Frayer finished fifth.

"I wasn't prepared," he said. "I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again."

Gunning for what could be his last shot at the Olympic team, Frayer quit his job as an assistant coach at Harvard and moved to the Colorado training center.

And he jumped at the chance to go anywhere to wrestle. Last year, he competed in the Takhti Cup in Iran. He also went to Siberia.

"Jared is more than ready," said USA national freestyle coach Kevin Jackson, who will coach the Olympic team. "He's been so close. He has just not been able to shut the door. The weight class is stacked. But he's sacrificed a lot by coming out here, and his international wrestling and his training here have been big.

"He put himself in the best position to win. Nothing will surprise him."

In a sport that is usually abandoned after college, Frayer keeps going. But he knows the days of competing will not last. In 2012, he will be 33.

"I've never really thought of the trials or the Olympics as the end of the road," Frayer said.

Does that mean another shot at the Olympics — beyond the trials in Las Vegas — is possible?

Frayer sighs and ponders it.

"That's still a long way off," he said.

First, he wants to start a family. He is engaged to Nicole Tycer, a former Oklahoma gymnast from Colorado Springs. And he is contemplating a move back to the Tampa area, where he might start coaching high school wrestling.

"I've been thinking about moving back for some time," Frayer said. "I like the area. My fiancee does, too. I'd like to either start a club or work at the high school level.

"But right now, I'm thinking more about the trials and the Olympics."

Ex-Countryside wrestler looking for another chance at Olympics

06/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 1:58pm]
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