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Junior wrestlers hitting the mat

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

The junior wrestlers of the Wild West Wrestling Club are in the midst of another season of exciting competition.

The Wild West team was among seven teams of the Intermountain League who wrestled in the season-opening tournament held at Middle Park High School in Granby last Saturday.

More than 120 young wrestlers competed in the day-long meet. Teams from Summit, Eagle, Moffat, West Grand and South Park were represented.

The Wild West Wrestling Club was able to put 30 young grapplers on the mats in this first meet.

“All of our kids wrestled really hard,” said Coach Gary Bailey. “This season, we have a range of wrestlers with some having wrestled as many as seven years and others who are competing in their first.”

The members of the 2007 Wild West Wrestling Club include: Kyler Bailey, Sydnie Jacobs, Stryker Heroux, Avery Steinberg, J.D. Webb, Caleb Knuth, Wyatt Smith, Justin Cox, Benjamin Jacobs, Matthew Bailey, Henry Hoyhtya, Jordan Ehlert, Luke Gair, Cainan Rott, Jacob Cox, Stone McGuan, Birk Irving, Ty Lange, Elias Clancy, Nathan Quinn, Ben Kuhnel, Murack Wilsack, Wyatt Hoskins, Sunny Pacheco, Daniel Kamer, Brian Metcalf, Shane Gray, Cole Carmody, Alex Law and Andre Law.

The club’s junior matmen will be competing in their next tournament this Sunday.

They will be traveling to Frisco for more Intermountain League competition being held at Summit High School.

The local junior wrestling club, which is sanctioned by USA Wrestling, is for children ranging in ages from four to 10 years old. Kindergartners to sixth graders are members of its competitve team.

“Our philosophy in Wild West Wrestling is that we want to keep it fun for the kids,” Bailey said. “In the 15 and a half years that I’ve been coaching, I’ve seen kids get burned out on wrestling before they get to junior high. Our coaching staff realizes that it’s not only important to teach wrestling skills, but to keep it a fun experience for the kids. If they have a good time, they’ll stick around and someday become champions.”

The club’s coaching staff is led by Bailey and Patrick Jellum, who both are coaches in Middle Park High’s wrestling program. They are joined by several volunteer coaches with many of them former wrestlers.

“It’s neat to see all these former wrestlers who are now helping to coach,” Bailey said. “We all have a pretty light-hearted approach to teaching the kids, but we want them to learn the skills they need to compete because it’s not fun to be totally dominated by an opponent in a match. We want the kids to learn, but also enjoy the sport.”

The type of wrestling taught to the club wrestlers is collegiate style, which is the same in middle and high school programs. In the matches, the youngsters wrestle three one-minute periods with the winner determined by the number of points or a pin. If the regulation time of a match ends in a tie, it continues into overtime.

“They wrestle until ‘sudden victory’ when one of the wrestlers earns a takedown. Whoever gets it, wins the match,” Bailey said.

Following this weekend’s tournament in Frisco, the Wild West Wrestlers will be competing in two more tournaments this fall.

Starting in March and continuing until June, the club also offers a freestyle program for young wrestlers.

Practices this fall are Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. in the wrestling room at Middle Park High School. A practice session is also held Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. in Fraser.

The cost for a child to participate is $30, which includes a USA Wrestling card and T-shirt. For more information about the Wild West Wrestling Club, call Gary Bailey at (970) 531-1663 or attend one of its practice sessions.


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