Predator wrestling comes to Killingly

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Nov. 5, 2012
The Predators are putting in lots of work in Killingly. Photos by D. Coffey.
The Predators are putting in lots of work in Killingly. Photos by D. Coffey.

A new youth wrestling program is establishing itself in what used to be a 2,000-square-foot machine shop in Killingly. The shop has been cleaned out and painted. Mats cover the floors in two rooms. Beams and portions of walls have been covered in 1/2-inch foam. “Predator Wrestling” stands out in big, bright orange letters on a wall. The brain child of Jamy Chappell and Brad Beausoleil, the program aims to provide year-round wrestling opportunities to area youth.

In high school, Beausoleil won a New England Championship, a state open championship, a Class M championship twice, as well as an ECC championship twice. The head coach for the Predators said the beauty of the sport is that everyone can be good at it. “We have a vested interest in developing each child's potential,” said Beausoleil.

“This isn't about winning or losing,” added Chappell. “Their best effort is all we want.”

Beausoleil starts his practices with jogging, calisthenics, cartwheels, tumbling and rolls, so the moves will be part of each child's muscle memory. A heavy bag hangs in one room for adults. They plan on developing a partnership with the Peter Rogers Karate and Kickboxing Center in Baltic. “Throwing different things at them will be good,” Beausoleil said.

Beausoleil believes the program will benefit kids in other ways beyond wrestling. “There's that team aspect, but we also teach respect and discipline,” he said. “The skills they learn here will help them succeed on the mat, and in the classroom. These are skills that will help them grow as human beings.”

Joseph Sandman said his son, Connor, has benefited by participation in the training offered by the Predators. “He got lots of individual attention and his skill level grew dramatically,” Sandman said.

The program is open to children 4-years-old and up. Beausoleil and Chappell plan on keeping a ratio of one coach for every six children. And because the Predators have their own building, their hours can be flexible. “Most youth clubs are dependent on recreation departments or town funds,” said Chappell. “We're the only youth wrestling club in this area with our own mats in our own building.”

Beausoleil credits a strong group of supportive parents for making the program feasible. They washed floors and mats, washed and painted walls, and are replacing a section of ceiling. They've also gotten assistance from Ernest Joly and sons, Daybreak Diner, Rogers Corporation and the Riverview Restaurant. “We've been very fortunate with the donations we've gotten,” Beausoleil said. 

Chappell's son, Andrew, calls Beausoleil a hands-on coach. “He'll do what he can to make you understand,” he said.

For more information, contact Chappell at 860-942-9788.

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