JOHN DAY - Joel Greschok has made a quick adaption to American life and wrestling.
Greschok came to the United States from Reudnitz, Germany this September. He visited Washington, D.C., and toured monuments and the White House before heading to John Day as a foreign exchange student at Grant Union High School. Greschok will be here for a year before returning to Germany.
Although Greschok is from Germany, he said he feels comfortable in John Day.
"(John Day is) a nice, small town," Greschok said. "So far I like it here."
The similarities between Reudnitz and John Day have made the move easier for Greschok. Both towns have less than 2,000 people and have agricultural roots. Wrestling for Grant Union has also helped with Greschok's transition. He wrestled in Germany and placed second in his district and fifth in the nation in the 69-kilogram, roughly 152 pound, weight class. Greschok also wrestled in international matches in Austria and Slovakia.
"I got second place in Austria and lost in Slovakia," Greschok said. "It was a tough tournament. There were teams from five countries including Russia."
Greschok has gone 11-1 in two tournaments since joining the Grant Union wrestling program. His only loss came to a defending state champion according to Prospector coach Dave Naibert.
However, Greschok's success hasn't come without work. He has had to learn the collegiate wrestling scoring and style because German wrestlers compete in freestyle wrestling. The two systems are similar, but have many differences. Freestyle wrestling focuses on throws for scoring, while collegiate wrestling tends to emphasize controlling your opponent. Freestyle wrestling has three two-minute rounds and whichever wrestler wins two of the three rounds wins regardless of overall score. Collegiate wrestling also has three rounds, but the winner is determined by overall score. Both styles do give immediate wins if a wrestler pins his opponent.
"The styles are very different when you are the guy that's down," Naibert said. "Joel's had to learn new moves. He's had to learn that he should get up. In freestyle you stay down and flatten out because if you're down 20 seconds they call you back up. He's very intelligent and has picked everything up fast."
Greschok said he has enjoyed learning and wrestling in the United States because wrestling is less popular in Germany.
"The wrestlers here are a lot stronger," Greschok said. "More people wrestle here than in Germany because in Germany the main sport is soccer. It's what people watch on TV. Wrestling is hard. A lot of guys wrestle for like half a year and then quit. It's not fun for them, it's too hard."