Wrestlers host boot camp
This past week, the Watford City High School gymnasium took on a new look as wrestling mats were rolled out from wall to wall. The Wolves wrestlers hosted Boot Camp Wrestling Camp for three days from June 19-21. The wrestling camp was organized by Camp Director Dwight Griffin and W.C.H.S. Wrestling Coach Mitch Greenwood.
Griffin has hosted his “Boot Camp Wrestling Camps,” a wrestling camp with a military flare to it as he describes it, in Missouri in past years. His work has brought him to the Watford City area and after coming into the Wolves’ practice room whenever possible to help out this past winter, he decided he wanted to host a camp here.
“I was excited and on board right away to make this camp a reality,” commented Greenwood. “He (Griffin) mentioned some names for clinicians that he thought he could line up for the camp and I was blown away. I almost didn’t believe him at first. He was talking about bringing a world-class wrestling camp right here to Watford City!”
World-class indeed. The camp featured three clinicians from all over the country. Steve Fraser came from Colorado Springs where he works at the Olympic Training Center for the first day of camp. Coach Fraser was a 1984 Olympic Greco Roman Gold Medalist, the first American to ever win a gold medal in Greco. He is currently the U.S. Greco Olympic Coach.
“We were extremely fortunate that Coach Fraser could fit us into his schedule,” stated Greenwood. “He flew directly from Dickinson when the camp was over to Oklahoma for the World Team Trials Tournament, which will determine which Americans would be coached by Fraser in this year’s World Championships in Budapest in September.”
The second day of camp featured Dan Russell, a four-time NCAA Wrestling Champion, a two-time Olympic Team Alternate, and 1995 World Champion. Coach Russell flew in from Battle Ground, WA. The Boot Camp Wrestling Camp was just one of 13 different camps that he is being featured at this summer.
Last, but certainly not least, Friday featured a 1996 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Champion, NCAA Champion, and three-time National Champion, Kendall Cross.
“Despite some flight delays out of Dallas, Coach Cross made it for the last day of camp and did a tremendous job giving our wrestlers some lessons on the mat that will make them better wrestlers going forward,” stated Greenwood.
Aside from what all of these clinicians taught the wrestlers on the mat, each of them also took time to sit down the kids and talk to them about some important things that will make them better in wrestling as well as anything else that they want to pursue in life. They spoke about mental toughness, goal setting, how to achieve goals that have been set, and other aspects of how to become successful in whatever they want to be successful in.
Altogether, the camp was made up of 32 wrestlers ranging from grade two to 12. About half of the campers were from Watford City, but there were also wrestlers from Stanley, Bowman, New Town, and Central Cass in attendance. Along with the featured clinicians at the camp, there were a group of area coaches who helped as well including Mitch Greenwood, Watford City; Keith Larson, Watford City; Kellan Zietz, Stanley; and Dustin Norby, Stanley.
Throughout the week, campers worked towards earning points by achieving different tasks and by being recognized by coaches and clinicians for their hard work.
The last event of the camp was an awards ceremony to recognize those who had achieved the most points. Camp MVP’s were Chandler Meiers, Stanley (9-12 grade) and Braedon Gumke, Watford City (8th grade and below). These two were named “Top Berets.” There were also a number of honorable mentions who were named “Black Berets” at the camp including Jade Hepper, Keegan Thompson, Maxwell Heen, and Isaac Kline from Watford City and Matthew Carlson, Bowman.
“The camp went better than I had ever dreamed it would,” stated Greenwood. “I have heard nothing but good comments from the kids who attended. We’re already talking about how to make this bigger and better in the future!”