Bono, in his second year at the Mocs’ head coach, departs for the Trials Friday and will wrestle Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. He earned a bye to the Freestyle finals in the 66 kilograms (145.5 pounds) division by virtue of his U.S. Freestyle crown.
A first-year head coach in 2006-07, Bono led the Mocs to their 22nd Southern Conference title and a 20th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. UTC qualified nine wrestlers to compete at the Nationals, a total which tied Minnesota as the high among all NCAA Division I programs.
Despite his busy schedule in the coaching profession, Bono still found time to train for the U.S. Freestyle Nationals and the U.S. World Team Trials.
“It is extremely challenging,” Bono said. “I really had to sit back and map a schedule for myself. It’s almost every second of every day, and that also includes family time. If I don’t set the schedule and abide by it, it is my family that winds up suffering, because I am either working or working out. So I’ve had to set a schedule, and I stick to it. As long as I stick to it, I am good to go.”
He confesses that his new head coaching career has promoted stability in his life, and that has translated to an improved training schedule and continued confidence in his abilities.
“I feel better than I have in the last three years, just because my mind is free,” the 34-year-old Bono said. “I’m not in a transition of moving jobs, moving houses, paying two mortgages. It was a tough 2-3 years there. I’m in a great situation here (at UTC).”
Bono is a three-time U.S. World Team member, winning the U.S. Trials in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
In his last World Team Trials in 2005, the top-seeded Bono defeated Jared Lawrence two matches to one. He ended up with a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships, falling 0-1, 2-1, 1-1 to Russia’s Andrey Sementsov on a takedown with 14 seconds remaining in the final period.
Also competing at the U.S. World Team Trials are assistant coach Israel Silva and senior Josh Keefe. The duo has to wrestle in qualifying rounds Saturday. Keefe will compete at 60 kilograms (132 pounds), while Silva will wrestle at 96 kilograms (211 pounds).
The 2007 World Championships will be held in September in Azerbaijan.