Leila Dycus Staff Writer

The past four weeks have been a grueling test of love for the Morgan County High School (MCHS) wrestlers, a summer team program. They proved their love for the sport and their commitment to it, while juggling a packed schedule. The Morgan County wrestlers are sure to be ready for their season.

“Wrestling and being successful and being tough physically…and being a great wrestler as well as a football player is super important in what we’re trying to teach the kids, but it’s really secondary because we want the kids to be good young men,” said Coach John Robbins. This past week was especially busy for the Morgan County Wrestlers. A trip to Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Camp, a Thursday set of home matches and a day at Woodland camp had the team traveling all over. As if that were not enough for the wrestlers, Coach Robbins is currently in the process of leading the wrestling camp at the Morgan County Recreation Department. On Sunday, June 8, the wrestlers traveled to Rome, GA for the FCA camp. Coach Robbins took around 18 high school students and two middle school kids to the four-day camp.

FCA camp brought together 15 teams from across the state. This allowed the Morgan County boys to wrestle a number of different opponents while working on their technique. Not only was the camp packed with teams but also they were lead by a number of different coaches including two former Olympians and the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeye wrestling team. “Between the technique instruction and the wrestling, that was worth the trip alone,” said Coach Robbins. “They also got to listen to some great speakers.” These speakers taught the boys and number of things. Coach Robbins stressed the importance of these wrestlers being good men, not just great athletes. Robbins wants to boys to know how to act and he feels that wrestling is the perfect opportunity for them to learn to be good future husbands and fathers. After returning home from FCA camp Bulldog wrestlers took part in another set of home matches.

On Thursday, June 12, teams from Baldwin, Central, Elbert, Social Circle, Veterans and Westside travels to MCHS. Just as they did in the week before wrestlers were weighted in by their coaches upon arrival before warming up and beginning the matches. The Thursday matches were another opportunity for the team to get experience on the mat. However, Coach Robbins noted the difficulty in getting all of his wrestlers to come out.

He said that he’s lucky to get two-thirds of his wrestlers to the gym due to sharing athletes with other sports and family vacations. Although Robbins does not expect the guys to be at every practice he is particularly proud of the younger wrestlers that have shown commitment and drive. Coach Robbins specifically noted the up coming ninth graders. He said that these students are promising and it’s evident that the middle school coaches did a good job with them. “That’s what the summer is about- younger kids are willing to come and work.

Those are going to be the kids that we call on when it’s time for the season,” said Robbins. On Friday, June 13 was an early morning for the wrestlers as they traveled to Cartersville for a day at Woodland camp. At Woodland camp the boys got to learn more about perfecting technique before breaking out and wrestling. The Morgan County boys were able to wrestle three to four more matches at Friday’s camp. After a busy week with the middle and high school students Coach Robbins then turned his focus toward the younger kids. This week Coach Robbins is leading the rec wrestling camp. This camp allows children ages 4 to 14 to come and learn the basics of wrestling.

“The kids are just genuine, they’re excited. “If they don’t understand something, you can tell right away and if there’s something wrong with them you can tell right away,” said Robbins. “If they’re excited, they tune into everything that you do. It really is just a fun time to be around them.” At camp the kids are learning about the three main stances in wrestling- neutral, top and bottom. They also learn about specific moves and how a wrestling match is scored.

The goal is to teach the kids how to get through a wrestling match. Robbins also said that it’s important that the younger kids learn that wrestling, like other sports, can be fun. Wrestling is a sport that is designed for everyone- whether you are the smallest and skinniest kid or the tallest kid in class, wrestling could be for you. This week Morgan County kids are learning about the sport in a fun and safe environment. After going hard for the past four weeks the wrestlers will have the chance to relax. However, there are still a few more Thursday matches to keep the boys in the wrestling mindset.