SIKESTON -- Looking to break into the head coaching ranks of high school wrestling, Sikeston native Jerry Winberry got a special opportunity to travel with the United States' Olympic team this past September.
One of eight people chosen through the coach's apprentice program, Winberry spent the week of Sept. 11-18 getting advice from some of the best minds in the sport as the United States competed in the Wrestling World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
"To be able to go in and talk to world class athletes was tremendous," Winberry said. "We were able to pick their brains on their practice routines and different things. We talked to the Olympic coaching staff, the Greco Roman coaching staff and the free style coaching staff. It was any kind of question that we had we could ask.
"We got to see how they run practice and talk to the Olympic Nutritionalist, so we got some nutrition information on how to better help our athletes succeed."
On his trip, Winberry got to witness Jordan Burroughs bring home the United States' lone championship of the tournament in the 74 kilogram Freestyle division.
A former assistant coach at both Sikeston and New Madrid County Central, Winberry had to go through several levels of certification before joining a pool of coaches nationwide looking for the same opportunity.
Once he met all the requirements, however, Winberry said things took off quickly.
"As soon as I got my certification they told me to fill out the application because they wanted me to go," he said. "Because at the coach's college, which was at the world trials last summer, I got to know a lot of the coaches there and talking to them.
"They were just kind of impressed with my wrestling knowledge and different things in the sport."
With the other coaches making the trip coming from places such as New York, Florida and California, Winberry added it was a great networking experience that has allowed him to stay in touch with other up-and-coming coaches.
"All the coaches give each other their contact information," he said. "So I've talked to several of them outside of that and they've sent me information and we've exchanged ideas as well."