Wrestling program continues to grow

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Nov. 23, 2011
David (l) and Will shake hands at the start of their match at the February 2011 Groundhog Dual. Rob Garlick is refereeing. Photos by Martha Marteney.
David (l) and Will shake hands at the start of their match at the February 2011 Groundhog Dual. Rob Garlick is refereeing. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The South Windsor Wrestling Association is getting ready for another year of training, with practice starting Dec. 5. South Windsor’s wrestling program is available for boys and girls, from first grade through high school. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit under the South Windsor Community Foundation. All coaches are certified and undergo background checks.

“We now have all three age groups – youth, middle school and high school – under our umbrella,” said Wayne Cunningham, executive director of the association. The all-volunteer organization recognizes the program benefits of physical fitness, self-discipline and sportsmanship that children gain through their wrestling training. “Wrestling gives these kids a lot of confidence,” said Cunningham.

"It is very rewarding watching some of these younger wrestlers get introduced to the sport,” said Jon Valles, assistant youth coach. “More than any other sport, wrestling is a sport of discipline and understanding the fundamentals. Our feeder program really reinforces these ideas and helps prepare the kids for the next level.”

The coaching staff has been expanded this year, with Mike Cunningham taking on the role of youth coach. Dave Turgeon continues as coach of the middle school program. The high school program is run through the South Windsor High School, under coach Jude Knapp.

“The great thing about wrestling is you can be the slowest kid or the biggest kid,” said Cunningham. “There’s always opportunities.” Competitive wrestling is based on weight class, and the athletes are paired up depending on their size. “The kids do really well if they practice and train, regardless of their size.”

“As far as a feeder program, all of this takes time, but the benefits are really beginning to pay off,” said Knapp. “The middle school team has grown and increased their training for this year, and this past year, South Windsor High School not only celebrated their first undefeated regular season ever, but were also the CCC North Conference champions, while boasting two State Open champions and 2 LL champions, all who came up through the feeder program.”

The youth program runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Monday and Thursday nights, from Dec. 3 through March 15. Youth registration can be done through the Parks and Recreation website at recreation.southwindsor.org. Details on the wrestling program can be located by clicking on the “Youth Programs” left sidebar, then clicking on “Athletics” under the “Information” right side bar.

Students at Timothy Edwards Middle School or the South Windsor High School should speak directly with the wrestling coaches, Gino Gaucher at TEMS and Jude Knapp at SWHS.

The South Windsor Wrestling Association has recently launched a new website at swwrestling.org. For more information, visit the website or contact Wayne Cunningham at wcunningham@swwrestling.org.

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