Benton junior wrestler Zain Retherford is back at practice in Stillwater Columbia County improving on his wrestling skills. The Slaughterhouse wrestling factory is home to the Benton Tigers wrestling club, and for the first time in the club's history one of their own is part of the USA FILA World Cadet team.
For his part in the three day tournament in Ohio Zain Retherford named outstanding wrestler and invited to travel with the USA world team to Baku Azerbaijan along the Caspian sea in the middle east in August.
"I'm excited for that! Really excited! Pumped up! We leave August 2nd for the Olympic training center and from there we leave the 20th to the 27th for Azerbaijan, and I talked to kids who went over there already they said it was a really good experience. The food is good. The weather is good. So it's going to be good," said Zain Retherford.
"It is going to change his life. It is going to be a whole new experience. He never had anything like this. He has wrestled at Fargo North Dakota and stuff like that, but wrestling in a different country against completely different guys they wrestle completely different. It is going to be a great experience for him," said Michael Rhone.
While in Akron Ohio at the FILA Cadet Championships Zain only lost one period and won all 8 matches defeating 3 nationally ranked wrestlers. It's easy to say after sitting out a year Zain Retherford is hungry.
"Just a lot of motivation. I guess you could say a lot of emotions that I'm ready to release and to get out there. I'm excited for it," again said Zain.
Zain began his career at Line Mountain high school and won a state title as a freshman, but a District IV committee and the PIAA ruled against a transfer to Benton before last season, and Zain was left wondering and watching his teammates compete.
"Staying out I got to watch more. Instead of wrestling not going out there really helped like the coaching aspect. I can see what I'm doing wrong from just watching other kids. So it's awesome learning more technique because of that," said Zain.
Welcome to Baku. Hopping on the Zain train.