JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – SFC Max Nowry showed plenty of mettle despite not earning a medal at the Greco-Roman wrestling world championships.
The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program member overcame an elbow injury to place fifth in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sept. 10-11.
“I was just managing myself to get to the worlds, and once I got there, I was going to let it fly,” said Nowry, a 42A Human Resources Specialist based out of Fort Carson, Colorado. “The whole time I was going out there, I was excited.”
Nowry’s strong start in his third world championships bolstered his excitement. He pinned India’s Arjun Halakurki in 5 minutes, 2 seconds, and Germany’s Fabian Schmitt in 4:58 to advance to the semifinals. Nowry lost to Azerbaijan’s Eldaniz Azizli, who would win the gold medal, then lost to Japan’s Yu Shiotani in the bronze medal match.
While it wasn’t the outcome Nowry planned or wanted, he kept it in perspective. He was recruited to WCAP in 2014 out of Northern Michigan University, which is the only collegiate athletic program that features Greco-Roman wrestling. Greco-Roman emphasizes throws and forbids holds below the waist.
“My coaches – Shon Lewis in WCAP and Bryan Medlin in Deer Creek, Illinois – would constantly remind me to just be grateful to be in that position and to be in the moment because a lot of people want to be in your shoes,” Nowry said. “I remember that because it took me about 10 or 11 years to make my first world team. I know that for the first decade of my career it sucked watching the world championships and wishing and hoping to be there. Having that mindset just made it more exciting for me.”
Nowry had wrist surgery two months before the world championships. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and had to work around that injury once he returned to the mat after the sutures were taken out and the incision closed.
“I thought I was fine enough to go into my first match without my elbow taped up,” Nowry said. “In my first attempt to score on a push out against India, I had an underhook with that right arm, and as I went to extend my arm, the elbow popped, and I lost feeling in it. I gave up a silly takedown, and after that, we taped up my elbow and it was a little sturdier.”
Nowry plans to have elbow surgery and enroll in the Senior Leader Course, which will keep him off the mat until February. He’ll have two months to train for the U.S. Open in April and try to make his fourth world team. At 32, Nowry hopes to compete in a couple more world championships and try to make the 2024 U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Paris.
“This year was rough because of injuries and getting sick at the wrong times,” Nowry said. “I don’t like to jump too far ahead of myself, but my immediate goal is to win the world championships first and then address the Olympic year. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and that’s something that my dad and Coach Lewis have helped with is not to get too far ahead of myself. You have to complete the task first and once that’s done, you can address the next task.”
SSG Spenser Mango, one of Nowry’s coaches, praised Nowry’s grit and determination during the world championships.
"SFC Nowry competed well,” Mango said. “He showed great resiliency in coming from behind in a couple of matches to pull out the win. By looking at the grit displayed by SFC Nowry, future Soldiers can see what the Army program is all about."
Other WCAP wrestlers who competed in the world championships were Sgt. Ildar Hafizov (60 kg), Spc. Alex Sancho (67 kg), Spc. Spencer Woods (82 kg) and Pfc. Kamal Bey (77 kg).