Wrestler Seth Winkle was part of a strong crop of Batavia freshmen last season, with accomplishments that included a fifth-place finish at 120 pounds at the Upstate Eight Conference meet. He has maintained a busy mat schedule since, both through workouts from Bulldogs coach Scott Bayer as well as his offseason club, the Naperville-based Overtime School of Wrestling. This week, Winkle is competing with Team Illinois at the famed Fargo (N.D.) Nationals. Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley caught up on the latest with Winkle in this week's edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. Here's an edited transcript of their conversation:
How was the bus ride from Champaign to Fargo?
It was a pretty packed bus, but I just slept on the floor. Got a couple hours sleep. Tried to get a little rest before we left, but I'm feeling good.
Has your weight class changed since the high school season?
I'm at 120, and my weight's been pretty good. I've been able to keep it down a pretty decent amount. I'm not cutting off any weight right now. Just kind of coasting right now.
You're competing in the freestyle portion this week. Have you always been a freestyle guy?
I've dabbled with Greco[-Roman], I guess, but I'm not a big fan of it. It's all upper-body and that's not really my strength. … The club I go to really enforces our top work, which these turns we learn on top really give us an advantage in freestyle because they're really different and not a lot of kids know how to defend them.
What was the lead-up to Fargo like?
The experience has been great so far. We had a four-, five-day day training camp to get ready for it, at [the University of Illinois]. I've been training with the best kids in Illinois. It's gotten me ready. It's a great experience, and I look forward to doing it every year. .. This is the first year I've been eligible to be able to make the trip [age].
A handful of Marmion guys are part of the team. How well do you know them?
A lot of them train with me out at Overtime, too. Yeah, I know some of the Marmion guys like [AJ] Jaffe and [Trace] Carello and all those guys. They've got a solid program, obviously, so I try to train with them a lot when I can.
Do you play any other sports at or outside of Batavia?
I wrestle year-round. That's all I do. I never really have time for anything other than that. … Coach Bayer keeps us in touch with the sport basically year-round. Even the kids that do do fall sports, he tries to work around their schedule and tries to get us as much training as possible in the offseason, and I'm really thankful for that.
I realize Fargo's not New York City, but do you guys have any non-wrestling activities planned?
There's not much out here in North Dakota. There's not much to do. We really don't have much time, anyway. We're wrestling all day.