Chertow camp about much more than wrestling

Matt Lockhart
Daily Mail Sportswriter

We all know the stereotype.

Jocks don’t hang with scientists.

On four acres of farmland in State College, Pa., Ken Chertow is trying to change that — kid by kid.

“Be a scholar-athlete, not a dumb jock, “says the former Huntington High wrestler who went on to become an Olympian.

It’s a well-crafted message Chertow has been preaching for years at camps around the nation, where it’s not just about wrestling.

“My first student was my brother Todd, “Chertow said. “Todd is now an orthopedic surgeon. He’s an ex-West Virginia state champion and he wrestled at Ohio State.”

Sure, when Chertow brings his Gold Medal Training Camp System to Charleston July 10-15, he’ll teach pins, kick outs and headlocks.

But there’s more to it than that.

“It also enhances your concentration, discipline and mental toughness — characteristics you will need in everything you do throughout your life, “said Chertow.

These camps weren’t always Chertow’s dream. He wanted to be a sports medicine doctor with a big wrestling room in his back yard after he got out of Penn State University.

He has the wrestling room, but medical school took a back seat once Chertow realized instructing kids was his passion.

Now, the 38-year-old former college coach doesn’t have any regrets — not that he has time to ponder.

Chertow has been all but sleeping on mats this summer. He started June 4 in Atlanta and hasn’t stopped.

There was Atlanta, then Pella, Iowa, then Lakewood, Col., then Stevens Point, Wisc., then Alliance, Ohio, then Cincinnati. Today he’s in Carlisle, Pa.

That’s seven cities in 23 days.

But, there are more trips before he hits the Charleston Holiday Inn Express July 10.
Chertow will make stops in Indianapolis and Chicago, then Charleston, then State College, Pa., then Detroit … and finally, Aug. 7-20 in Allentown, Pa.

If that’s not enough, he works camps every weekend from Labor Day through New Year’s Eve.

“Ken is very focused, “said a lady who answered his office phone.

And Chertow wants his wrestlers to be the same way.

“The ones who make a commitment to excellence find success, “Chertow said. “Unfortunately, only a handful of (West Virginia high school) coaches are encouraging their students to make this commitment.”

One of those is Nitro Coach Chuck Easter, especially with his sons Matt, Anthony and Seth.

“The Easter brothers have spent entire summers with me for a decade, “Chertow said. “Wrestling is a great sport for kids. Any ‘body’ can wrestle — short, tall, skinny or husky.”

Just no dumb jocks.

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