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Wrestler’s Selfless Act Gives Opponent First Win

January 18th, 2014 by Tom

A sophomore wrestler from Albert Lea, Minnesota intentionally lost his match in order to make his opponent's day.

"I found out he had down syndrome, and then once I was told that, I knew that I was going to give him the match because I was told he hasn't won a match or anything yet," Ryleigh Bure said.

He had his mother Danielle Bure film the match against Kyle, who was down syndrome.

Ryleigh said he didn't tell anyone his plan.

"Everyone deserves to win. I know what it feels like and he hasn't had a win yet, so I thought he deserved to feel what it felt like to win."

Though he didn't win the match, Ryleigh said he felt like a winner as he walked off the mat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Creston-OM wrestling champion Marlin commits to Hawkeyes

October 27th, 2012 by Tom

Captain America plans to return, to Iowa City.

Creston-Orient-Macksburg three-time state champion, wrestler Jake Marlin, received the, nickname last year as some Panther teammates referred to each other by, superhero characters. University of Iowa will benefit from his talents in the future.

Marlin confirmed that he orally committed Sunday to wrestle next year for the Hawkeyes and head coach Tom Brands, following an official visit to the campus last weekend.

Iowa wasn't at the forefront of his list as Marlin was considering the University of Nebraska and University of Wisconsin. He was won over during his trip that began Friday and concluded Sunday.

"It just clicked," Marlin said. "It's unlike any place in the world. They have one of the best followings. They are constantly one of the top teams in the nation."

Marlin said his style meshes well with the team and coaching staff.

"I would say," Marlin said with a laugh. "I'm a little bit crazy."

He is a really good, too. According to Creston Coach Darrell Frain, Marlin owns a 148-5 record. Marlin has won Class 2A individual titles at 130, 135 and 138 pounds for the Panthers. He expects to compete at 138 again this season, attempting to become the 22nd four-time state champion in Iowa history.

Marlin said he will wrestle 141 pounds with a possibility of growing into the 149 weight class. He has big aspirations, and considers the Hawkeye wrestling room the place to achieve them.

"I'm planning on winning at least two (NCAA titles)," Marlin said. "That's my goal."

Frain said he thinks Iowa is a perfect for the Marlin. He said former Hawkeye Mario Galanakis has been on the Panthers staff, guiding Marlin. Frain said he has witnessed Marlin's ability to zone in on a feat and never, slow down, until it is accomplished.

"Once he gets a goal he gets focused on it," Frain said. "He puts blinders on and he goes and goes until he

According to Amateur Wrestling News, Marlin was a double All-American at Fargo, N.D., in 2010, placing fourth in freestyle and seventh in Greco-Roman. He said his performance this summer her his stock, dropping him from national rankings, but he is fueled to prove doubters wrong.

"Right now, I'm working hard," Marlin said. "I'm ready to go."

According to AWN, Marlin is the second prep to commit to the Hawkeyes, joining Broc Berge, a projected 197-pounder from Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.

South Plainfield New Jersey wrestler Anthony Ashnault commits to Rutgers

October 26th, 2012 by Tom

South Plainfield High School senior Anthony Ashnault, who hopes to become New Jersey's first undefeated four-time state champion, has made a nonbinding commitment to continue his wrestling career at Rutgers University.

One of the nation's most coveted scholastic grapplers, Ashnault will take a 130-0 career record into the 2012-13 season.

He turned down scholarship offers from some of the nation's top programs including Penn State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Michigan.

Ashnault, mature beyond his years, informed Rutgers University head coach Scott Goodale of his decision by phone Thursday, only after he contacted the other coaches recruiting him to thank them for their interest.

"It was very stressful," Ashnault said of making an early commitment, which will help him focus on the upcoming season. "I think it will give me a better chance of making history."

Ashnault has won individual state titles at 103, 112 and 126 pounds. He led the Tigers to the state Group III team championship two of the past three years.

NCAA regulations prohibit Goodale from commenting on AShnault until the wrestler signs a National Letter of Intent.

No. 2 nationally at 126 pounds in Amateur Wrestling News' final 2011-12 rankings, Ashnault is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Billy, and South Plainfield head coach Kevin McCann, who both wrestled for the Scarlet Knights.

A three-time NCAA qualifier who graduated from Rutgers earlier this year, Billy Ashnault was named the school's Director of Wrestling Operations in August.

Billy's role with the program was a factor in Anthony's commitment. Ashnault said Rutgers' proximity to home and its academic offerings also contributed to his decision.

"I believe in where they are as a program right now and where they are headed," Ashnault said of the Scarlet Knights, who rose to national prominence in just four seasons under Goodale, being ranked as high as ninth nationally two years ago.

Ashnault will attempt to become New Jersey's third four-time state champion. Delbarton's Mike Grey (158-2 career) accomplished the feat in 2008, while Bound Brook's Andrew Campolattano (175-1) followed suit in 2011.

The only New Jerseyan to finish his career unbeaten with more than 130 wins is current Rutgers redshirt senior Scott Winston, who won three state titles (injury prevented him from reaching a fourth final) and compiled a 137-0 record.

Ashnault's commitment is a coup for the Scarlet Knights, who will have wrestle-offs for the 2012-13 season on Sunday in the College Avenue Gym.

Rutgers was among others receiving votes in the 2012-13 USA Today/NWCA/AWN Preseason Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, finishing three positions out of a Top 25 ranking.

The Scalret Knights dropped five of their last six dual meets to finish last season with a 13-8 record. They also placed seventh in the EIWA Championships and boasted five NCAA qualifiers.

Of the 14 wrestlers Goodale landed for his 2012 recruiting class, 10 are New Jerseyans.

Recruiting battle finally over for Berge

October 19th, 2012 by Tom

 When it boiled down to it, Broc Berge had to follow his heart.

It's unfortunate for University of Minnesota wrestling fans, but Berge's heart decided his best option was to leave his home state.

After a long recruiting battle and many sleepless nights, the Kasson-Mantorville senior standout gave his verbal commitment this week to wrestle for the University of Iowa.

Berge was considered the nation's No. 1 recruit at 195 pounds by several publications. He's ranked the No. 11 overall recruit in the country by Amateur Wrestling News. With Simley's Jake Short already committed to Minnesota, Berge was the state's top remaining prospect.

The Mantorville native is a two-time state champion, and a 2012 USA Junior National Freestyle runner-up.

Berge was perfect last season, going 48-0 with 28 pins on his way to the Class AA state title at 195. He went 40-1 as a sophomore and won the state crown at 189. As a freshman, Berge placed fourth at 189.

About a month ago, Berge said he narrowed his college list to Minnesota and Iowa. Wisconsin and North Dakota State had offered Berge full-ride scholarships, but he said it never was about the money.

Berge visited both Iowa and Minnesota recently. The visit to Iowa went well, Berge said.

"I like (coaches) Tom and Terry Brands a lot," Berge said. "I will get the same coaching down at Iowa as I do in our room from (former Hawkeye and current K-M co-head coach Jamie Heidt). That was a big pull for Iowa. I got along with the guys really well. Plus, I saw some of their workouts and their intensity and just their overall attitude in the room, and it was the place I needed to be to succeed and win the national titles I'm hoping to get."

Berge said the recruiting process wore on him. He grew tired of the constant questions. Berge said it got to the point that after school he would go to football practice " he's also one of the area's top running backs " then go straight home every day, simply to avoid the questions.

"It was stressful. It wasn't bad stress, but it was still stressful," Berge said.

Wrestling practice begins in a few weeks, and Berge said he wanted to make his decision immediately so he could focus on the KoMets' goal of winning a state team title.

Still, the decision was far from easy. Berge said he did feel allegiance to his home state. He said he felt pressure from Minnesota fans, but everything that happened in the recruiting process pointed Berge toward Iowa.

"I liked that Iowa City is a little smaller; I'm from a small town, and it just seems like the Cities would be more stressful and take away from my focus," Berge said. "With (friends) like (Jake) Short and Nick Wanzek (both of Simley) going to Minnesota, I did feel comfortable there. But Iowa just ended up being the best fit."

It helped that Terry and Tom Brands made it clear how badly they wanted Berge to be a Hawkeye. Berge said he felt that love right away from the Hawkeyes.

"It came down to me feeling that Iowa was the best place to shape me, not just as a wrestler, but as a person," Berge said.

Former Ridgeview high school wrestling coach to open training center

August 22nd, 2011 by Tom

by Beth Cravey

The popular former Ridgeview High School wrestling coach whose March firing led to protests from students and parents will open a new wrestling and fitness training center in Middleburg Florida.

The center will host Christopher McNealy's Pin-N-Win Wrestling Club Inc., a non-profit amateur wrestling club he established while he was at Ridgeview.

The grand opening will be held from 10-11 a.m. The center is located at 4289 County Road 218., Suite 107, Middleburg.

Club membership is open to ages 5 to 18 year olds, as well as adults. Activities are held at the center on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

For fees and other information, go to pin-n-winwrestlingclub.com.

Ridgeview wrestling team members and parents descended on the March 17 School Board meeting saying that McNealy's ouster was unfair and that he was made a "scapegoat "for recruiting violations. School officials denied that charge.

After a three-week investigation, Superintendent Ben Wortham upheld the decision made by Ridgeview principal John Westmoreland and Athletic Director Bob Adamson not to review McNealy's contract. Wortham rarely intervenes in school-level personnel matters, and said at the time that he did so in this case only because of the "extreme "reaction of student wrestlers and parents.

McNealy, who had been at Ridgeview for seven years, retained his full-time job there as an Exceptional Student Education teacher's aide.

Cerebral palsy can’t keep a ‘really strong’ junior off wrestling mats

June 24th, 2011 by Tom

James Barron | The New Mexican

Robert Buckhanno of Las Vegas, Nev., wrestles Trevor Wilson of Arizona

When Stephen Serr walked to the middle of the wrestling mat to face his opponent, he did so with caution.

Looking up at Serr, a sophomore wrestler for Kearney (Neb.) High School, was Lucas Vialpando, a strapping junior from Aurora (Colo.) Eaglecrest High School.

What he saw was a muscular frame " from the waist up " waiting to engage him in the championship of the 98-pound division of the Greco-Roman competition of the Amateur Athletic Union Grand Nationals wrestling tournament.

"I was kinda nervous, "Serr said. "I was thinking of if he would beat me, how would I feel?"

What Serr saw was an opponent on his knees. It's how Vialpando wrestles because he has cerebral palsy.

Vialpando, competing in his fifth season in the sport, struggled against Serr and lost two of the three periods to finish second.

But even Serr admitted that Vialpando was a handful.

"He was really strong in the upper torso, "Serr said. "He had some muscle. He's pretty strong."

While Vialpando appreciated the compliment, he has a fierce competitive side that wants to excel. And it's the driving force behind his ultimate goal.

"I want to make it to (the) state (tournament), "Vialpando said. "Haven't got there yet, but I can see it within the next two years."

That dream was deferred as a sophomore, as he missed part of the 2010-11 season doing therapy that often conflicted with his wrestling schedule. It's grown on him over the last year and half, and Vialpando has made a stronger commitment to the sport.

"I started having fun with it, "Vialpando said. "It was something I knew I wanted to do. It grew kinda over time because the challenge was just something I loved."

It's a passion that doesn't just reside with him.

Older brother Horacio Vialpando, who wrestles at 160 pounds for Eaglecrest and also took a second-place medal in the Greco-Roman division, turned to the sport at his brother's beckoning when he was in the sixth grade. Horacio said Lucas was the first member of the family to compete in the sport, and encouraged him to follow.

"It was a part of him getting into it and him yelling at me to do it and my dad (Russ Vialpando), "Horacio remembered.

Part of that was because of Lucas' admiration for his brother. It is Horacio that Lucas credits for his desire to wrestle, and Russ sees the respect his younger son has for him.

"Lucas looks to his brother for inspiration and guidance, "said Russ, who is an assistant coach at Eaglecrest. "We try to make it (wrestling) a family thing for Lucas, because sometimes it's not about winning. It's about what you learn and how you take it toward your life."

What Lucas is learning on the mat is to adapt to his limitations. While he uses platform crutches to help with his balance, he doesn't when he competes. He wrestles from his knees to give him the best balance possible.

Because some wrestlers might find Vialpando's stance an advantage, referees offer opponents the option of starting from their knees as well.

When the whistle blows to start a match, however, Lucas doesn't feel at a disadvantage.

"No matter what happens, I can set my mind to something and I'll do it, "Lucas said. "When I step out on the mat, even if I lose I know I earned a tremendous amount of respect from everybody that watches the match."

His effort on the mat is opening other doors beyond the high school ranks.

Lucas wants to participate as a wrestler in the Paralympics. He and his dad are trying to find some events he can attend, but Lucas isn't waiting patiently for the opportunity.

"It just sounds amazing, "Lucas said. "I'm looking at doing it as soon as possible. It's what my dad wants, and it's what I want for myself."

Wrestling club pairs technique with social, leadership skills

June 21st, 2011 by Tom
Wrestling club pairs technique with social, leadership skills

Lindsay Kimble/Times-News

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.

National powers now look up to Apple Valley at No. 1

January 10th, 2011 by Tom

The Eagles handled a traditionally strong Florida team to claim the title in the prestigious Clash.

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune

ROCHESTER - It's repeated so often that it would be difficult for even the most cynical of souls to dispute it. It's Apple Valley's mantra, nothing special or overly clever, but it carries a weight of its own

"We work harder than anybody else, "Apple Valley senior Matt Kelliher said. "That's what we always say. No team is going to work harder than us."

That work ethic, which has paid off in 18 state championships, was evident Saturday as the Eagles won the championship bracket of The Clash Duals wrestling meet at the University Center in Rochester.

More importantly, Apple Valley's victory virtually assured the Eagles of the first undisputed national high school wrestling championship in Minnesota history. And they did it in style, beating perhaps the most legendary high school wrestling program in the country, Brandon, Fla., 34-16 in the finals.

The national title is determined by the voting in three national polls, released by the Amateur Wrestling News, Intermat.com and theopenmat.com.

While no official national champion is crowned, Apple Valley is the unanimous selection at No. 1 in all three rankings. The Eagles' victory in the Clash -- their fourth consecutive title in the most prestigious dual-meet event in the nation -- concludes the national portion of their schedule. Clearly a cut, or even two, above the rest of the Class 3A field, it would take the unthinkable for Apple Valley to fail to win its sixth state championship in a row.

"We just have to finish is out, "Apple Valley coach Jim Jackson said. "We have to win the state championship."

The Clash final may have been the most anticipated showdown in the meet's nine-year history. Brandon has long been considered the Babe Ruth of prep wrestling, a program that won 459 consecutive matches between 1974 and 2008. Brandon's streak stands as the longest winning streak any U.S. high school team has produced. It even was the topic of an ESPN documentary titled "The Streak."

It was the prospect of facing Apple Valley that lured Brandon to Minnesota in the dead of winter.

"We wanted a shot at Apple Valley, but they were better than us today, "Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Apple Valley deserved to be No. 1. That's a very solid, very aggressive team."

Being ranked anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4 in the nation, depending on what poll is doing the ranking, Brandon was looked upon as perhaps the only team in the country that could give Apple Valley a battle. It was just such a prospect that drove the Eagles.

"This is what we've been preparing for all season, "said junior 140-pounder Brandon Kingsley. "I've been wrestling in the Apple Valley program for 12 or 13 years and this is the best team I've ever been on."

Kingsley got the Eagles' championship quest started by pinning Giovanni Dudley in the first minute of their 140-pound match, giving Apple Valley a quick 6-0 lead.

The Eagles expanded their margin gradually, winning four consecutive decisions from 145 pound to 171 pounds, building up an insurmountable 18-0 lead before Brandon finally got on the board with a victory at 189.

The remainder of the match was basically a foregone conclusion as Apple Valley built its lead on the strength of its lower weights.

"This means a lot to our program, "Jackson said. "It means al lot to our coaches and the people involved with the programs. And it justifies all of the work we put in in the offseason. We always say we work harder than anyone else. Who really knows if we actually do? But the kids believe it and it the kids believe it, that's all that matters."

The 6 Sickest Amateur Wrestling Slam Moves

August 26th, 2010 by Tom

With Matt Hughes employing an amateur wrestling headlock to choke his way to victory over Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117, I figured the time was right to feature some more nasty amateur action "in this case, some slams. Now some of these moves aren't strictly legal in the legal sense of the word, but they're all incredibly painful to watch. Let's get to the action.

Wrestling Slam

You have to blame the recipient for this one "instead of pivoting to go down on his back, he tried to fight it and ended up going on his tender little head. Apparently he got back up and continued the match, which just proves that teenagers are indestructable.

Cary Kolat Backflip

This is just freaking sick "when his opponent went for a single-leg takedown, Pennsylvania high school student and future Olympian Cary Kolat whipped out a full backflip to escape it. Bravo.

Best Example of an Illegal Slam Ever

This is obviously a completely illegal slam "in amateur wrestling, for a slam to be legal, the person delivering it has to touch a knee to the ground before any part of the recipient's body hits, preventing high-impact injury. This was a high-impact injury, and the dude laying it down is psyched.

Very Illegal Slam

Slo-mo replays at the end make this stuff even more painful to watch, but this is some serious grappling ability on this kid's part. The best part is when he steps away from his opponent's potentially concussed corpse on the ground with his hands up in the air like "Who, me?"

Wrestling High School Kyle Starling illegal slam 215 soph year vs Air Academy Duel

This one doesn't cut right to the good stuff, but there's a story behind it. Apparently the kid in the blue was all psyched for his next match, against one of the opposing school's best in his weight class. But then the coach pulled the guy he was hyped to go against and subbed in a new kid with a 25 pound weight disadvantage. Results: epic pain.

Incredible Illegal Wrestling Slam

In wrestling, you're always looking for an opportunity. And sometimes one arises that you just can't pass up, as was the case in this high school match where the kid in the red singlet accidentally gives up his leg, leading to an utterly sick slam.

This particular slam owns for all the right reasons. 1) it was completely legal, with Kirk White's knee going down before he mauls his opponent. 2) the slo-mo at the end with hella Satan voice. 3) White even has a name for the move (a rarity in NCAA wrestling circles) "the "Death Sentence." Pure win.

There you have it, the 6 sickest amateur wrestling slam moves.

Author Author: K. Thor Jensen

Winnipeg Young City Wrestler Battling His Way to the Top

August 25th, 2010 by Tom

Wrestler Caleb Rutner

Winnipeg wrestler Caleb Rutner, a superstar-quality wrestler who beat all the Grade 12ers when he was in Grade 9 last year, has been fighting his heart out in high-level wrestling training camps in the United States this summer.

He's looking to attract the eyes of scouts offering major prizes. Rutner's goal is to get a wrestling scholarship to an Ivy League university, and that means BIG money. One guy on his team got a grant worth $350,000 for four years including room board, tuition, and books.

Rutner is going into Grade 10 at St. Paul's High School this year with Mike Watson as his wrestling coach. This past year, Caleb fought in the biggest amateur wrestling tournament in the world as a member of Team North Dakota. "It's a superb level of wrestling "says his dad, American-born psychologist Dr. Toby Rutner, who was a college wrestler himself until he got injured. Not that it was all sweat and hard work on the mats this summer for the kid. "You only have to be 14 to drive a car in North Dakota. When they weren't wrestling, the guys were driving around and shooting off fireworks, "says his poppa, wryly.

MAJOR TALENT HERE: Winnipeg is no stranger to hosting shoots for feature-length films, but the major roles are usually taken by actors from Toronto, New York or L.A. On the set of Hello Darling -- Shelagh Carter's movie lensed in town this month -- the scenes are loaded with Winnipeggers in main and smaller character roles, even though the casting call was open far and wide. On the set Tuesday, Maple Leaf School student Kassidy Love Brown played the main role -- 11-year-old daughter Sarah, who watches her mom's mental health disintegrate. "I've always believed in Winnipeg talent, but we sent out a call nationally because we didn't know if we could find our Sarah here, "says director Carter, who grew up in Winnipeg and experienced much of the plot line personally.

"Then, in Kassidy walked, and she was it. She just happened to be a girl from Winnipeg. I saw 15 girls audition, but she was the one. "Ethan Harapiak, a seven-year-old who attends Beaumont School, has similar looks and plays her little brother. He's a fine actor, too.

Child actors are only allowed to work eight-hours shifts and must be accompanied by a family member, so Kassidy's dad, Kent Brown, and Ethan's mom, Corray Classen Harapiak, were ensconced by the food table in the back porch looking after their children between takes.

Beatrice, played by Winnipegger Kristen Harris, is the troubled mother in the movie. Tuesday, she was dressed in glamorous party clothing from 1962 as she said good night to the children. Her husband, David, is played by Winnipegger Darcy Fehr. Crew members are a collection of independent Winnipeg experts and producer Polly Washburn said she and the director "couldn't be happier "with the standards of Winnipeg film workers.

Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 474-1116, email [email protected] or send mail to The Insider c/o The Winnipeg Free Press at 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2010 B1

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