Future Blackhearts got a taste of what it could be like to wrestle for Challis High School during a youth wrestling camp.
The tiny grapplers were coached by adults and teens, who put them through the paces.
“It’s kind of annoying,” seventh-grade wrestler and volunteer coach Korbyn Arneson admitted about trying teach the campers, who ranged from pre-kindergarten to fifth-graders. “These little kids don’t know what to do yet.”
However, on the last day of the week-long camp, Arneson said there had been much improvement.
Fellow seventh-grade coach Rigin Dixon said that’s the point of the camp. It establishes a baseline for where the children’s skill levels sit and lets the adult coaches know what they’re capable of. In his case, Dixon said the coaches saw he was willing to push himself, even as a 4-year-old beginner.
According to CHS wrestling coach Bill Bradshaw, the future looks promising. Not only do a couple of boys look like “they’re going to be real fire breathers next year,” Bradshaw said the group of upcoming girls looks just as good. The cluster of 18 girls who participated in the camp looked like they were learning well, according to Bradshaw, who has said in the past how excited he is to see this growth in Idaho wrestling. Next season will be the first time female wrestling is a sanctioned sport in Idaho with its own state tournament.
As for the boys, Bradshaw listed off a few that he’s personally excited to see join the Blackhearts someday. Future sixth-graders and junior high team members Riker Spencer and John Hutchison, who spent the final day of camp taking each other down and scrambling on the mat, were the first to come to Bradshaw’s mind.
Both Hutchison and Spencer said during a break from their bouts that they had a great week of camp. They spent their time practicing the future moves they’ll pull on other wrestlers, like pulling the chain and duck unders.
However, as Bradshaw explained how the tournament that wrapped up the camp would operate to the 50 or so campers and their parents, he reminded them camp isn’t just about drilling moves. Ultimately, he said, the goal is to ensure everyone walks away with a “big smile. Have fun and no tears.”