CRANFORD - USA Wrestling announced the four athletes who will compete in wrestling for Team USA at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee. One is none other than Cranford’s Robert Howard.
The Youth Olympic Games will be held October 6-18, with the wrestling competition to take place October 12-14, in Argentina.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Howard. “Two (male) wrestlers from the United States will be sent to the Youth Olympic Games and it’s just crazy that I am one of them and will have another chance to represent my country.”
Representing Team USA in women’s freestyle are Emily Shilson of Maple Grove, Minn. at 43 kg/94.5 lbs; and Tiare Ikeiof Honolulu, Hawaii at 49 kg/108 lbs. The U.S. athletes in men’s freestyle wrestling are Robert Howard of Cranford, N.J. at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Carson Manville of Kingston, Pa. at 65 kg/143 lbs.
Wrestling is one of 32 sports that will be featured at the Youth Olympic Games, an elite, multi-sport event for athletes between the ages of 15-18, which is organized by the International Olympic Committee and held every four years. This is only the third Summer Youth Olympic Games.
It was after winning the World Team Trials in June that Howard received his phone call from USA Wrestling that he was going to Buenos Aires.
“I’ve been training hard. Following the World Team Trials, I spent time at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs before traveling to Croatia to compete in the World Championships in July”, said Howard. “I’ve been back to the OTC and will be traveling to San Diego for two weeks at the end of August to train with the men’s senior team as they prepare for the World Championships in Budapest. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to train with the best wrestlers and coaches in the United States.”
Howard will be a junior at Bergen Catholic High School in the fall. He was a 2018 New Jersey high school champion and took second place in 2017. According to Flowrestling, Howard is the No. 1 ranked high school wrestler in the country at 126 pounds, and the No. 5 pound-for-pound wrestler in the country.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage in our sport,” added Howard. “I’m going to Buenos Aires to represent my family and country and to win a gold medal. That’s the goal. Nothing more. Nothing less.”