As many as 60 young wrestlers were anxious to learn from Clark County champions during the first Clark County Coach-A-Roo wrestling camp, which concluded Friday at Skyridge Middle School in Camas.
Camas High School wrestling coach Brody Faler organized the camp to build relationships between high school and middle school wrestlers, and the upcoming youth. He dreams of this camp becoming as prestigious as the Clark County Championship wrestling tournaments.
“It’s been a county wide effort, so far. A lot of good participation on all fronts,” Faler said. “The first time the older kids tried to teach some of these skills to the younger ones, they got frustrated. I tell them, ‘welcome to my life.’ They’re learning. It’s good for them.”
It is also good for the next generation of wrestlers to receive one-on-one attention from the high school wrestlers they look up to. On the first day of camp, the youngsters were greeted by three-time high school state champion Kyle Bounds. The 2005 Columbia River High School graduate recently finished up his college career at Michigan State University.
“The kids were very eager to learn from Kyle. They look up to Kyle,” Faler said. “He brought with him an element from college. The advanced wrestlers were really into hearing what he had to say. It was pretty inspiring for all of them.”
Camas High School sophomore Dakota Safford is enjoying the opportunities to wrestle year round, instead of just during the winter. He found coaching at the camp to be beneficial in many ways.
“It’s a different experience working with kids. It’s hard to get them to listen,” Safford said. “Not only am I trying to help them become a better wrestler, but it also helps me break down the moves slower and become a better teacher. I’m also learning new moves as well.”
Rusell Stinson, a senior at Ferris High School, came all the way from Spokane to help out at the Camas camp.
“It’s really nice to see when you teach a kid a move, and then watch him do it,” Stinson said. “It also helps me perfect my own style, which helps when I’m out there wrestling.”
Stinson’s love for wrestling is simple.
“When you’re out on that mat, it’s just you and the other guy,” he said. “Getting your hand raised at the end is the best feeling in the world.”
Even the younger wrestlers could relate to that.
“My favorite part is when I take down people,” said Gage Dillon, a 5-year-old from Camas. “They try to get on top of me, and I take them down. That’s what I like about wrestling.”