- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 15:39
- Published on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 15:39
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It was wrestle-mania at its best. On Sunday, nearly 500 aspiring wrestlers from the Northern Va. area, ages 5 to 14, gathered at the King George High School (KGHS) to showcase their athletic abilities in front of packed gymnasium.
Hosted by the King George Youth Wrestling Club (KGYWC), the event was first event of its kind in the county. Based on a round-robin format, wrestlers were allowed to compete three times
against kids of similar weight, and skills. However, if the wrestler was in a larger weight class, they are permitted to wrestle four times. By going online to www.nvwf.net wrestling fans can access the results of the meet.
The event was officiated by members of the KGHS wrestling team. “It’s great experience for high school wrestlers, because they see the sport from the perspective of a referee—while gaining a deeper appreciation for what they have to go through during a match,” KGYWC head coach Jeff Kraiser said.
In an effort to provide a feeder system KGHS wrestling program, Dave Krieder, Jon Frederick and former KGHS wrestling head coach, Rick Buckwalter, Dave Zimmerman, founded KGYWC. The club was began with 12 members, who practiced on Saturdays, and no avenue for competition.
KGYWC coaches include: Jeff Kraisser (head coach), Randy Johnson, Steve Murgas, Zeb Johnson, Ken Johnson, Craig Bettis, Jason Redcay, Jason Norris, Luke Swenson, and Kraig Johnson. The staff of the KGYEC has over 41 years of wrestling experience between them.
The club is composed of 30 youths from the King George area. Currently, three former members of the club are members of the high school team. The club is sponsored by the King George Parks and Recreation Department, and is partnered with the Northern Virginia Wrestling Federation.
The federation is made of 35 teams from 11 counties in the Northern Virginia area.
Passing on the family wresting tradition to the next generation has always been part of the sport’s unique mystique. “When wrestling gets in their blood, fathers that love the sport encourage their children to continue the tradition,” Kraisser said.
As for KGYWC assistant coach Ken Johnson, the fact that his father was a former wrestler encourages him to share the knowledge he has acquired with the younger members of his organization. “The sport of wrestling is lively, active, and it’s growing,” Johnson said. “It’s a great tool that kids can use throughout life, because the sport helps them learn good sportsmanship. Whether they win or lose, it helps them attain an independent spirit. In high school, they get points if they win, but in this program, it’s all done on a personal level.”
Johnson also expressed that the sport teaches kids how to control their strength, and how to be sensitive to the weaknesses of other wrestlers, when using the moves correctly.
Every weekend, wrestling clubs associated with the NVWF split tournament competition between two sites. Parents who are interested in having their sons or daughters become a member of KGYWC should contact the King George Parks & Recreation Department.
Also, the club provides a practice-only option for aspiring wrestlers who are not ready for tournament competition.