Falcons wrap up wrestling camp

Falcon grappler Frankie Falotico (left) watches as Hayden Steadman rolls Brady Kerperin onto his back as the pair work on their technique during the Blair Oaks wrestling camp Friday in Wardsville.

Falcon grappler Frankie Falotico (left) watches as Hayden Steadman rolls Brady Kerperin onto his back as the pair work on their technique during the Blair Oaks wrestling camp Friday in Wardsville. Photo by Kris Wilson.

WARDSVILLE — The Blair Oaks summer wrestling camp, held this week at the high school, served as an important audition process.

But it wasn’t the wrestlers auditioning for the team. No, it was the younger campers auditioning the sport.

“We show them it’s fun,” Blair Oaks head coach Tim Karsten said. “They can do it and it’s a good chance for them to see if they want to do the Kids Club, which can last two, three months. That’s a long season for younger kids, so you might as well do it for a week and see if you like it than have to go for two or three months.”

To that end, there was some teaching in the camp that ran from Tuesday through Friday. But more importantly, there was fun.

“The key is to keep the fundamentals and make it fun for the young kids to keep them out for the whole time,” Blair Oaks assistant coach Brian Markway said. “We just teach one type of series we’re going to go over, keeping it fairly simple for the kids so they can get maybe three moves out of the whole week.”

Added Karsten: “We just get them a chance to get on the mat, learn a few moves, have some fun and then get them back here in the future.”

The camp was scheduled for 6-8 p.m. each day, although some of the campers didn’t make it quite that long.

“We wrestle for as long as they can last,” Karsten said with a laugh. “They’re not really in wrestling shape, so they can have a couple goes and then they’re ready to head on home.”

The camp featured a range of age groups and had close to 30 different individuals show up during the week. With some coming and going due to other summer commitments, sessions averaged between 15 and 20 wrestlers at any given time.

“We’ve had a smaller camp this week and that’s been pretty good as far as giving them individual attention, which some of them need, especially the younger kids,” Markway said.

And some of that attention came from varsity wrestlers.

“It’s good for the younger kids to get a mentor to look up to,” Markway said. “It’s nice for them to follow the guys, especially when they (older ones) go to the state meet and the young guys can say, ‘That kid helped me out.’”

Karsten said the camp was helpful for everyone, even the varsity.

“Mat time during the summer is very important so they don’t forget everything,” he said. “You’d be surprised at how much they do forget after a long summer, so they do need to come in and wrestle around a little bit to keep up.”

Many of the team members take part in football workouts during the early morning, then do some wrestling work.

“We have better contact with them during the year, so that’s always better,” Karsten said. “But we see most of the ones we need to see.”

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