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CRESTWOOD – After two years, the South Oldham Junior Wrestling Club is ready to make a name for itself in the state.
“We’re always looking to improve and we want to improve on what we did last year,” club coach Randy Wheeler said. “We have another year under our belt with a lot of kids back.”
The club boasts 28 members, made up of students from Kenwood Station, Crestwood and Camden Station in the South Oldham district. They were fourth in the state elementary club meet last year.
They practice three nights a week where the emphasis is on learning. Practices are heavy on conditioning and especially on drills under the watchful eyes of Wheeler and assistant coaches Chris Murner, Todd Goodlett and Joseph Kelley.
“The best teams in the nation start their kids at this age,” Wheeler said. “We really want them to get the fundamentals of the sport down and learn. By doing that, it will mean they can go out and have some success on the mat.”
Another goal of the program is to insure the continued success of the high school program at SOHS as the wrestlers move through the middle school ranks and hopefully on to high school with the sport.
“It’s a great thing for our program,” SOHS coach Steve Fiser said. “It has already paid dividends for us and will no doubt continue to do so. Randy and the coaches just do a really good job of teaching. I love their practices, you walk in and it’s quiet and everyone is listening. It’s a very disciplined atmosphere and the kids respond to it.”
In addition to competing against other teams from the state, the club travels to Cincinnati to compete in invitationals.
“I call it going to Mecca,” Wheeler said. “The junior teams up there have been going on for years and years and they have a real tradition of excellence. The competition is great and our kids really learn a lot about wrestling at a top level.”
South Oldham returns 15 wrestlers who made it to the state meet last year including defending state champions Eric Kelley at 45-pounds in the five/six year-old division and Nick Schultz at 60-pounds.
Also back are state runners-up Phillip Hazlett and Tanner Goodlett.
“This is a good group to work with,” Wheeler said. “Like I said, we want to teach the sport and someday help the high school program and with this bunch I think we can do both of those.”
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