- Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:07
- Published on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:05
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The last time a King George Middle School wrestler grappled with an opponent was six years ago. Now, nearly a month into the winter sports season, 34 KGMS wrestlers have experienced three tournaments, and a wealth of knowledge thanks to their head coach, Rick Buckwalter. Buckwalter, and King George High School wrestling head coach Paul Kraisser have successfully pursued the issue of resurrecting the middle school wrestling program in King George.
Prior to the season, only five KGMS wrestlers out of the current 34-member roster had wrestling experience. There are no restrictions on gender. The team features a female wrestler who also played football for KGMS during the fall.
“Our kids are very ambitions, and very interested in learning every aspect about the sport of wrestling,” Buckwalter said. “I am immersing them slowly, because a lot of our kids are realizing that this is a tough sport to master.”
While the team has won the majority of its exhibition and tournament matches, they must continue to train so that one day they will be an asset to the high school program. Currently, the high school is reliant on the King George Parks & Recreation sponsored program, King George Youth Wrestling Club. The club is a member of the Northern Virginia Wrestling Federation. Kraisser serves as the head coach.
Middle school coaches are allowed to shuffle athletes around during tournament competition, because they are not restricted by VHSL weight standards.
Other than a daily regimen of calisthenics - push-ups, crunches, etc. - the team participates in a weekly weight training program.
Buckwalter is a seasoned coach who has coached hundreds of wrestlers during his coaching career. He served as the Foxes high school head coach for 14 years. His ultimate goal for the program this season is to qualify and compete in the state tournament on Jan. 25-26, at the Arthur Ashe Center, in Richmond.
KGHS and Old Dominion University graduate, and former wrestler, Brian Cameron, assists Buckwalter. Also, former wrestling coach assistant Eric Moore has stepped up to assist Buckwalter this season.