State College native Rob Prebish knows most people aren’t familiar with the Maccabiah Games — but they still have a special place in his heart
Starting this weekend in Philadelphia at the team trials, he begins his journey back to Israel for the “Jewish Olympics,” better known as the Maccabiah Games, from July 4-18.
This time around, Prebish will go as an assistant coach for the United States wrestling team.
“For me, it’s going to be great to share all of the things that I learned while I was over there,” Prebish said. “I get to share my experience and faith with this group of wrestlers. It’s a trip that really changes you not so much from an athletic standpoint. It’s cool you’re in international competition, but it really transforms you in terms of your faith and your religion.
“To me, I think that is the most important thing, and I get to share that with this group of wrestlers.”
Prebish is very familiar with the international scene of wrestling and traveling the globe. He took part in the 1989 Maccabiah Games — capturing two gold medals.
Besides being a competitor, he has coached several U.S. teams. Prebish was the head coach of the 2008 U.S. team that won the Greco-Roman tournament in the FILA Junior Pan American Championships in Cuenca, Ecuador. Former Bald Eagle Area and Penn State wrestler Quentin Wright was a part of that team.
Prebish also coached the 2014 Greco-Roman team that competed in the FILA Cadet World Championships in Slovakia.
When Prebish isn’t in the corner of international wrestlers, he is an assistant coach for St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Va. He has coached two national prep champions and three Fargo champions.
Even though Prebish has coached some top-tier wrestlers, he said he still treats all of his wrestlers the same. And that holds true for his wrestlers in the Maccabiah Games.
“We are looking to do the best that we can,” Prebish said. “I hope that between now and when we are in Israel that I can actually go to Philly and work with some of these guys and prepare them for this competition. For some of them, it’s going to be their first international competition. It’s a lot different to what they are used to here in the United States.”