Eager grapplers ranging in age from kindergarten to high school got a good taste of what it’s like to go at it on the mat at Moriarty High School’s summer wrestling camp, July 21 and 22.
“It was pretty cool, getting to wrestle was the best part,” said 11-year-old Marcos.
“Camp was fun,” added Konnor, who attends Moriarty Middle School. “When we, like, actually did wrestling, I’d give it a 10, like I wanna come back.”
Moriarty’s first-year wrestling head coach Tim Means, along with his wife and assistant coach, Brenda Gonzales-Means, orchestrated the two-day camp, which was the school’s first in several years.
“I wanna say, it’s the first wrestling camp in about eight years in Moriarty—it’s been a while,” Tim Means said, adding, “We just wanna get more kids off the couch and doing something, we have too many kids sitting around right now.”
About a dozen youngsters up to age 10 participated in the mornings on both days of the camp.
“It was a good little group, they had fun,” Brenda Gonzales-Means said at the end of the second day’s morning session.
About an equal number of middle school and high school kids took to the mat in the afternoons. Some of the high school-aged participants are hoping to make Moriarty’s wrestling team this fall, which Means said is also part of the overall objective.
“Our goal is putting together a full team for the fall,” he said. “We wanna show kids that when you work hard, there are rewards.”
Moriarty senior wrestler Asaiah Kamplain, who helped with the camp, knows all about the rewards coach Means was alluding to: Kamplain captured a state-champion title in his weight class in May.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Kamplain said about the camp. “I love learning and I love teaching at the same time so it’s great to see little kids out here excited about wrestling.”
Some of the things Means shared with the older campers were what he called “untraditional wrestling techniques,” as well as “chaining” a series of moves together, “circling” to keep opponents’ hands away, and “shrimping” to get into a better position to create a “scramble.”
“This gets us off our backs,” Means told the older group. “We create a scramble to get off our back.”
The high school attendees who hope to make Moriarty’s team, like Asaiah Kamplain’s younger brother Caedon, an incoming freshman, and senior Abigail Johnson, who is new to wrestling, had high praise for the camp.
“The camp has helped me a lot with my shots, my moves, and getting my rhythm,” Caedon Kamplain said.
“It’s helping me because a lot of the moves are repetitive, and for me, seeing it and doing it over and over helps me learn, so I feel like it’s really good for that,” Abigail Johnson said.
After the camp, Means said he was very impressed with the turnout and the enthusiasm of the campers.
“Everyone that showed up really wanted to learn wrestling and wanted to be here to wrestle, so that’s cool in itself,” Means said. “I think it went really well—I think we can only go up from here.”