Youth wrestling ‘so important,’ Huskies wrestler says
By Phil Gibson
On Saturday at Hewitt-Trussville High School, the present met the future.
The high school hosted the Alabama Wrestling Club Youth Tournament, where children as young as 5 participated.
The Hewitt-Trussville High School wrestling team was on hand to help out with the event, running the mats and even refereeing the matches. Among those calling the action was senior Marcus Elkins, a standout wrestler for the Huskies. He pointed out the vital role youth wrestling plays in the sport by preparing young grapplers for high school competition.
“(Youth wrestling) is so important,” Elkins said. “You have a chain of coaching, where we’re all drilling the same stuff. In youth, you learn the basics of it, and then when you get to middle school you’ll go over it a little more in depth. When you get to high school, if (your coaches) are all teaching the same thing, then you just expect it. It’s very beneficial to a wrestling club.”
Youth wrestling experience hasn’t become an absolute necessity for a wrestler to progress to the varsity level, but it is becoming increasingly common and important for kids to get more experience with the sport early on.
“I’d say about 60 percent (did youth wrestling),” Elkins said. “A lot of people have never heard about it, then they get to middle school and they fall in love with the sport.”
Starting at an early age can make a huge difference, however, as the Hewitt-Trussville wrestling team is demonstrating this season. Elkins started wrestling in kindergarten, and is currently the lone undefeated wrestler on the team. The last other unbeaten, eighth-grader Heath Williamson, lost last week in a tough final matchup. He, too, participated in youth wrestling from an early age.
“Our eighth-grader (Williamson) is ranked first in the state, and he’s been wrestling for 10 years now,” Elkins said. “He’s very talented, and he only got beat by one point at Soddy Daisy. He lost and I was heartbroken.”
Hewitt-Trussville next wrestles Tuesday at Oxford against Oxford and Thompson, and Friday and Saturday at St. Clair County High School in the St. Clair County Ragsdale Invitational.
For more information about youth wrestling, visit www.alabamawrestlingclub.com.