MEBANE ” The Hurricanes Wrestling Club grapples with bigger issues than headlocks and takedowns.
But that’s a part of it, too.
The program, headed by coach Troy Williamson, also helps the kids build confidence and social skills.
The Hurricanes Wrestling Club, located at 1141-A Gibson Road in Mebane, was created more than 10 years ago by Randy DeAngelo, the Southern Alamance High School wrestling head coach. Williamson, who has been involved with wrestling for more than 20 years, took over as head coach in 2007.
“We divide our club into three groups: The first group is the Storm Chasers, who are typically 4-6 years old,” Williamson said. “This level we just teach the technique; it’s totally introductory.”
The next level is Intermediate, which Williamson said is typically wrestlers age 7 to high school. Finally, there is the Elite group, which is advanced wrestlers age 8 to around high school.
The Hurricanes won the North Carolina Amateur Wrestling Association Elementary State Championship team title in 2011 and 2009, and were runners up in 2008 and placed fourth in 2010.
Williamson said that March through May is the club’s postseason, but they take a year-round approach. Williamson offers Takedown and Youth Dominator camps on weekends through June, July and August.
“Our summer camps are really tailored for any kid that comes in, whether he’s played in the band or wrestled his whole life,” Williamson said. “Last year our August camp sold out, July camp was about half full and June was also about half full.”
Assistant coach Carl Kilcrease said that the Hurricanes Wrestling Club is the only one of its kind in Alamance County.
“Alamance doesn’t have a middle school wrestling program, so this is kind of the middle school theatre for wrestling,” Kilcrease said.
The club is a nonprofit, and all money collected goes directly back into the team. All the coaches work on a purely volunteer basis.
“Last year, every dollar we earned paid for entry for every kid in the club into the state tournament,” Kilcrease said.
Williamson said they are still always trying to reduce costs for parents, and offer scholarships.
“We want the opportunity to exist for every kid out there,” he said. “Because, we don’t focus just on wrestling, we want members to get good social skills, so we focus on goal setting and hard work, to build self confidence.”
Toby Nichols, assistant wrestling coach, said Williamson also provides leadership lessons.
“I think what Troy instills in these kids on and off the mat is what made us successful,” Nichols said. “Troy ends practice with a speech about how to make yourself a better student and child, which is important, especially at a youth level.”
Nichols said the Hurricane Wrestling Club Duals at the Mebane Recreation Center is probably the club’s most successful event. January 2012 will be the fourth year for the elementary duals, and sixth for the middle school duals.
Williamson said the duals bring in around 300 wrestlers and their families a day. The 2011 duals had competitors from six different states.
“These wrestlers and their families are going into restaurants and local hotels, giving them that business,” he said. “So we’re contributing to the community in that way by bringing in revenue.”
Kilcrease said the Hurricanes aim to “build up students” where other clubs seem to “weed them out.” The club’s retention rate is high, said Kilcrease, and better than 80 percent of members go on to wrestle in high school.
“We are creating young men and women that bring back the ideal level of respect that all kids should have,” Williamson said.