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31 years of club success

31 years of club success
31 years of club success
Corydon Central High School wrestler Logan Hodges teaches campers the army crawl during practice.

Pack 44 kids ages 5 to 12 into a gymnasium and tell them to wrestle, and many would expect madness to occur.
The auxiliary gymnasium at Corydon Central Junior-Senior High School has been host to just that, minus the madness. Wrestlers at the elementary school age have been participating in the Old Capital Wrestling Club for the first three weeks of March, and some will continue through the entire year.
Instead of wrestling around in a horse-play like manner, the kids are learning the sport of folk-style wrestling. For the 31st year, organizer and high school varsity coach Richard Clipp continues to expose kids to another sport.
‘We could extend this longer, but this is a good, intense crunch of exposure for both the kids and parents about wrestling,’ Clipp said. ‘It’s a winter sports option for when these kids get to junior high and high school. If they like it and work at it, they could join those teams.’
With the assistance of current and former Corydon Central varsity wrestlers, along with the coaching staff, wrestling is being taught and executed with the young athletes.
Not only are the techniques and rules of wrestling being taught, but also the sportsmanship. During six of the nine days the club meets, quad duels take place. Each participant is placed on one of four teams designated by colored T-shirts. The participants wrestle in matches based on age and weight.
Good sportsmanship takes place throughout the match. From a handshake with the opponent before and after the match, to acknowledging the opposing coach with a handshake post-match, the students are learning the ins and outs of wrestling.
Most of the youth compete in the one-on-one matches with big grins on their faces. When a coach yells, ‘Stand up,’ the kids do everything they can to get their bodies off the mat and get to their feet. Of the four teams, each has two to five coaches per session.
‘It’s not easy to hold the attention of kindergarten kids for an extended period of time,’ Clipp said of the club that requires 20 to 25 volunteers to run each night. ‘The kids teach us coaches just as much as we teach them. It’s a learning process for us all. Our first night, we ran over 30 minutes, but we got the routine down after that night.’
Three nights a week, from March 2 through 18, the club meets to practice and participate in duals. Clipp said coaches keep the gym open once a week during certain weeks of the year so those with a continued interest can have a place to practice.
There is also the hope to spark interest in the sport at a young age. Corydon Central senior Ryan Hutchinson said he hopes, when he returns to visit the wrestling program after college, that most of the kids he is helping today will be wrestling.
‘What we want to do is expose it to them and make it fun,’ Clipp said. ‘We’ll teach them fundamentals and some technical things and hope it strikes their interest.’
When the club reached out to the kindergarten through eighth grade, Clipp said it had 120 members. Currently, the program involves kids from 11 elementary schools in the area.
‘Some repeat and come back each year,’ Clipp said. ‘A lot of guys on the high school and junior high team started in this program.’
The club wraps up tonight (Wednesday) with an awards night and activities.
The junior high team recently competed in the Floyd Central Junior High Wrestling Invitational. The Corydon Central team was one of 13 teams participating and finished with two individual champions. Bailey LaHue and Conner Kopp won their respective weight classes. LaHue, a sixth-grade wrestler, was named the outstanding wrestler of the meet.
Jeremy Buess and Ethan Coleman finished fifth, and Ethan Wright took a sixth-place finish.
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