I would like to begin this article by stating, without hesitation, that I am extremely proud to be part of the Section 9 Wrestling community. This past weekend at the NYS Wrestling Championships in Albany, our section was represented by 36 student-athletes who poured their hearts and souls into every match they wrestled. They put it all on the line and gave it their best. They competed hard; however, win or lose, when the match was over, they composed themselves, shook hands, and behaved with class, dignity, and respect. I hope you are all proud of yourselves…I know that I am.
When all was said and done, S9 had six wrestlers place in the top six in their weight class thus special congratulations are in order for:
Ryan Bedross (12) Warwick – 4th at 152 D1 Ethan Stanley (12) Saugerties – 4th at 285 D1
Justin Corradino (12) Warwick – 5th at 120 D1 Paul Sommer (12) Rondout Valley – 5th at 152 D2
Johnny Stramiello (10) Pine Bush – 6th at 106 D1 TJ Kreider (12) Cornwall – 6th at 113 D1
Andy Martinez (11) Liberty – 6th at 182 D2. Great Job Guys!!!!!
I believe, though, that NOW is the time to address and fix two “issues” which, in my opinion, exist in Section 9 Wrestling. The first problem is quite obvious. As a section, we finished near (or at) the bottom in both divisions. D1 finished 9th of 12 and D2 finished 12th of 12. I understand that S9 is a rather small section in comparison to some of the other sections, but I think we can all agree that we can do better.
The second problem is not quite as obvious, but, arguably, is the root of problem #1. Those who attended the state tournament this weekend can vouch for what I am about to say… Section 9 Wrestling needs to unite. Our fan base was, by far, the most fragmented of all of the sections in the arena this weekend. When a S9 wrestler did something great, applause was usually heard from a small, defined area of the arena….safe to assume the applause was coming from the fans of a particular “school. ” When wrestlers from other sections did something special, a loud applause from a rather large section of arena was heard. Fans from the entire “section” were cheering the event. Please do not take what I have said as a criticism of our fans…it is not. Those of you who know me, know that finger-pointing is not my style. My goal is simple…to unite our section thus making us stronger. Fortunately, if what I am saying is true, there may be one solution to help fix both problems.
Off-Season Club Wrestling May “Point” Us In The Right Direction
In comparing S9 to some of the more successful wrestling sections around NYS, one glaring difference is that we are one of the few sections that does not have a strong “club” presence. Most other sections have several club options. Many of our elite S9 wrestlers travel to other clubs to hone and sharpen their skills in the off-season. Do not misunderstand me….I am all for it. It is awesome that these athletes and their parents are willing to go the extra mile to improve their skills. What I am suggesting, however, it would be great if we had a wrestling club option right here in our back yard. A club where scores of S9 wrestlers would attend. A club that would provide an opportunity for our wrestlers to work out and practice with each other during the off season. A club that could provide a platform for our parents to get to know one another thus creating a more unified fan base at the state tournament.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting articles to help promote some of the off-season wrestling options that exist for our S9 athletes. Today, I will start by writing about the option that I feel has the greatest potential for success… The West Point Wrestling Club!
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why there is not a stronger “link” between Section 9 Wrestling and Army Wrestling. Trying to figure out “why” this is the case is an absolute waste of time….let’s just change it….starting today! The Army program is on the rise. Second year Army Head Coach Joe Heskett has a motto for his Division 1 program, “Build and Believe.” Is there a more appropriate motto for S9 Wrestling? For the past few days, I have had several discussions with Army Assistant Coach Terry Madden. Coach Madden, a Pine Bush graduate, is a 2X Section 9 Champ and a Division III National Champion. He and I share the same vision and he assures me that Coach Heskett and the rest of the Army staff feel the same way…we would all like to see The West Point Wrestling Club become “the place” where Section 9 wrestlers train during the off season . Take a look at what this club has to offer.
Joe Heskett: NCAA Champion, World Team Member
Daniel Mitcheff: NCAA ALL American, World Team Trials, 4th Place
Terry Madden: Former 2x Section 9 Champ, NCAA DIII National Champion, World Team Trials, 4th place Paul Young: 2x Indiana State Champion, 3x NCAA Qualifier
Location / Times:
The club currently practices on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Arvin Gymnasium on the beautiful campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The club is currently exploring the possibility adding other locations as well.
The West Point Wrestling Club is offering an introductory rate of $75 per month! That is less than $10 per practice session!!!
A Message From Coach Terry Madden:
Come train with an elite Division I coaching staff right in your area. With Coach Heskett’s motto of “Build and Believe”, set your goals and let us help you make them become a reality! Come train not only with fellow peers, but also Army cadets! Remember, what you do with yourself on the off season, always reflects the upcoming year. Come work out where training is taken serious, Army serious!