FDSH grad Rial tabbed coach for 2018 USA World Greco-Roman team
In 2008, Mark Rial earned a national championship representing the United States at the world championships.
Now, the former two-time state champion from Fort Dodge will get the chance to lead the next generation to success.
Rial was recently announced as a co-head coach for the United States Greco-Roman Cadet team that will be competing this July in Zagreb, Croatia. He’ll work with Lucas Steldt in the first of three tournaments for the U.S. wrestlers.
“It was a great honor representing the USA as a competitor and the same holds true as a coach,” Rial said. “It will be a lot different because I will be focused on multiple individuals and not just myself. I am really looking forward to it.”
The team of wrestlers will be selected in June with a training camp to follow. While he isn’t sure of which current standouts will be on the roster come this summer, he knows there will be excellent choices made.
“There is a lot of young talent that is expected to compete for a spot,” Rial said. “There is one local Fort Dodge kid that I won’t name that would have a great shot if he decides to wrestle Greco-Roman.”
During his time as a Dodger, Rial won state crowns in 1994 and 1996. He was a runner-up in 1995 and also qualified as a freshman. He later competed for the University of Northern Iowa, where he was an NCAA qualifier. Some of his other accolades include a third place medal at the Junior Nationals in 1993, a fourth place finish at the Cadet world championships in 1994, a third at the University Nationals in 2002 and a seventh place finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2004.
Rial also finished third at the 2007 U.S. World Team Trials, was fourth at U.S. Nationals in 2005 and fifth a year later. He claimed a Northern Plains Senior Regional championship in 2007.
Coaching, though, has always come second-nature to Rial. He’s made stops with the Panthers and Iowa Central, along with helping out on the youth scene for several years.
“I definitely wanted to get back into the international side of things and help USA Greco anyway I can,” Rial said. “I got a call from USA wrestling about a month ago (about the position). I filled out a coaches application to get put in the coaches pool. That decision was pretty simple.
“I have been involved in wrestling as an athlete or coach since I was five years old. It’s in my blood. I feel I’m obligated to give back to what has shaped me. I specifically feel the need to do this in Greco wrestling.
“I love all wrestling, but I feel Greco is misunderstood in the U.S. and takes a back seat to the other styles. There is no specific reason, but I feel it’s a lack of misunderstanding by the majority. It’s tougher and harder, therefore people shy away from it. I feel if you train it, Greco adds a lot to the other styles.”
Rial said he’ll get together with Steldt in the near future. Steldt previously served on the 2017 staff. which claimed one medal.
“I’ve never met (Steldt), but I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and what he’s doing for wrestling, especially Greco,” Rial said.
The U.S. also announced Zac Dominguez and Spenser Mango as co-head coaches for Seniors, with Herb House and Nate Engel leading the Greco-Roman team at the Junior World Championships.