CLEAR WATER (WQOW) – A longtime UW Eau Claire assistant coach is set to compete in the USA Wrestling Senior Men’s Freestyle Team Trials in Nebraska from September 10-12, but the way the wrestler got there at this point is a journey like no other.
Elroy Perkin was in the right place at the right time.
“I still remember him, just that kid, who was a 90-pound freshman that we saw in the cafeteria. We needed a 103-pound,” said John Quinlan, former Perkin coach. at Whitnall High School.
After a few open gyms, Perkin was sold, “It was the first sport I ever did. I never played any sport until this point.”
In his final year, he was qualified for the state, looking for what would be next, although future coaches had other plans for Perkin.
“I didn’t recruit him, he kind of looked for the opportunity to wrestle in college. When we started making cuts, we actually cut him, me and our staff sat down, and we didn’t think he would be a varsity wrestler. And he was so upset about it, ”said Tim Fader, Perkin’s head coach at UW Whitewater 2011-2014,“ He went to a few open tournaments that we attended so we were in the same gym. I know he was trying to put on, you know, put on a show to make sure we knew we had made a mistake. It didn’t take us long to figure this out. “
And it can be said that it worked for both, Perkin was qualified three times nationally and twice all-American at UW Whitewater, and for Tim Fader he found himself a new assistant coach in his new position. at UW Eau Claire. .
“He had no coaching experience, he just knew how to train hard and it took him a little while to figure out the coaching aspect of that, the relationship side, when he got it he just figured it out. took off in that area, ”Fader continued,“ It was hard for him to let someone score on him. You know, like, he would walk into the room and he would fight anyone in the room. ‘was pretty, it was new enough for him to give advice to the person he was wrestling with. ”
While learning the ropes of coaching at UW Eau Claire, Perkin joined a top Minnesota team, the Gophers Wrestling Club RTC.
“I just wasn’t done. I wasn’t satisfied yet, and I think it’s because I started wrestling at 14 instead of 5,” said Perkin.
At the 2021 Senior Nationals, Perkin placed fifth in his weight class, putting him on track to compete for first place in the World Team Trials.
“I like being that guy that nobody expects. I’m like that underdog, I go with this ability to let him fly. I don’t have to calm down, I don’t have to, I’m ‘I’m not hanging on to anything,’ Perkin said.
Perkin trains 5 days a week, sometimes more than three hours a day.
“The workouts we did with Elroy were about trying to physically push him to the point where he wanted to stop and then work him past the breaking point. We had drills where we had 4 or 5. individuals, a new guy every 30 seconds against him, ”said Jordan Crass, coach and owner of CrassTrained.
Win or lose, Perkin said that wouldn’t be the end of his time on the mat, “There’s no reason for me to quit just yet, and so I’m improving. I want to shoot for the 2024 Olympics. I want to give it another chance. “
If Perkin finishes in first place this weekend at the Freestyle World Team Trials, he will compete in Norway at the 2021 World Wrestling Championships in the first week of October.
After competing in the trials, whatever his fate, Perkin will be the new assistant coach at California Baptist University.
UPDATE: Perkin was eliminated from the World Tag Team Trials after losing two clashes on Saturday.