Floor family work to promote wrestling in the territory
The wrestlers representing American Samoa in the 2012 Oceania Wrestling Championships that took place in Sydney, Australia last week did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics in these Oceania Championships, but they do have another shot for the Olympics, when they travel to Casablanca, Morocco for the African & Oceania Qualification Tournament, to take place on March 16- 18, 2012.
One of the American Samoa wrestlers, CJ Floor,Jr., who competed in the Senior Wrestling Division — 96kg class, and earned a Silver medal, is now back in the territory, getting himself ready not only physically, but mentally as well, because as you get closer to the BIG ‘O’ (Olympics), the smaller the group of wrestlers gets, until it gets down to the best of the best competing against one another, vying for the Gold, not only for themselves, but for their country and for the oldest sport known to mankind.
Samoa News had a chance to speak with Floor, Jr. this week, as he is at this time helping out with wrestling here in the territory along with his father, Carl J. Floor Sr., who is a wrestling coach at Samoana High School, where CJ’s little sister, Stephanie Floor, (who is 11 years old, in the 6th grade at Lupelele) is also a wrestler.
The Floor family, who originally come from Port Jervis, New York, and have Samoan ties, spoke about CJ’s qualifying tournament, Carl Sr.’s coaching and Stephanie’s wrestling.
“The trip to Australia was good. I earned a Silver medal. Since this qualifier was in Australia, they, along with New Zealand brought in their best wrestlers,” said CJ. “Priscus, from Australia, who won the Gold medal, got the better half of me in Greco and Freestyle. He was the strongest guy I have ever wrestled. I couldn’t attack him, I couldn’t get anything on him.
“The tournament itself was good and everyone on our team wrestled well, they did their best. It was a tough tournament,” he concluded.
In a sport that is dominated by boys and young men, Stephanie Floor, at the tender age of 11 and who weighs only 116 lbs., has her work cut out for her, as she also competes with the boys, due to the lack of girls competing in wrestling in American Samoa.
The girls that are competing in the American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) wrestling this school year, also far outweigh Stephanie, forcing her to wrestle the boys, where there is plenty of competition for her in the lighter weight classes.
“I like wrestling. Even though I am the only girl on the Sharks team right now, that’s ok. I still try my best. I grew up watching my brothers wrestle my whole life. I invite any and every girl who wants to learn to wrestle, to come out and learn this great sport,” she said.
The father of the wrestling siblings, Carl J. Floor Sr., as a wrestling coach at Samoana High School has has his work cut out for him, as this is still a very new and young sport in the territory.
“I am here to help build the program here in American Samoa, so we can compete on the national and international levels, hopefully opening doors up for kids to possibly go to the East coast, where I have a lot of friends who are college coaches, who are providing some opportunities, as well as discipline and they want to show these kids that somebody cares about them and that they have some support,” said Floor Sr.
“I like to coach here at Samoana… the kids here are very coachable. They are like sponges for information, they take everything in very well,” he concluded.
The ASHSAA Wrestling regular season begins this Saturday with a tournament at the Samoana High School gym. It’s open to the public.
Ethan Lake, who is president of the American Samoa Wrestling Association, which is a member of the American Samoa National Olympic Committee continues to push wrestling as a possible No. 1 sport in the territory, and has been instrumental in getting ASHSAA to include it in the high schools’ annual sports schedule, since last year — their first season.
Wrestling Team American Samoa, which went to the Oceania Olympic qualifiers, and just returned this past Monday, brought back 9 medals, including 2 Golds, from the tournament, despite not qualifying in these matches for the 2012 Olympic Games.