Posts Tagged ‘Camp of Champs’

Many individuals have been hitting the mats and the weightroom in the summer.  The summer is, for the most part, wrapped up.  Here is a rundown of our training:

*Summer league: Wrestlers like Corey Shackleford and Michael Youssef scrimmaged with other South County Wrestlers on Tuesday and Thursday nights in June and July.  Corey wrestled an astounding 71 matches during the four week summer league, while Michael–who attended every session–wrestled 39 matches.

*Summer league finals: Corey and Ian Brault wrestled against So. Cal’s best at the Summer league finals tournament at El Dorado on July 20.  Some of the top wrestlers from San Diego, OC, La County, and even from Idaho showed up to compete.  It was an intense tournament and both gentlemen got good experience.

*Capo Camp: July 15-25, over 25 wrestlers from Capo attended the camp.  The team received great instruction from three stellar clinicians:

First, Dane Valdez–CA state champion and University of Oklahoma All-American–taught some escapes as counters to various top moves.

Valdez sharing his knowledge with the group.

Valdez sharing his knowledge with the group.



Next, Nate Morgan–3x CA state champion from Bakersfield HS and 3x All-American from Oklahoma State University–taught OSU’s low single series, as well as some tricks from a cradle.

Nate, sharing a story about the hard work him and his teammate, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner, put in while they were in high school.    Looks like those 3 hr Sat morning practices paid off!

Nate, sharing a story about the hard work him and his teammate, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner, put in while they were in high school. Looks like those 3 hr Sat morning practices paid off!


Lastly, CA Wrestling Hall of Famer and former Capo teacher and coach Bob Janko pumped the kids up and showed some great moves from neutral.


All three clinicians were able to share some psychological perspective with the team, in addition to the moves they showed.  The second week circumstances changed and the team didn’t have any clinicians come in, but they still got some good training in and had fun at the same time.  The whole time we had some great help from alums Juan Hernandez and Jamey Goddard, as well as new staff coach George Mestakides.  The energy was high and everyone had a great time.


*Camp of Champs, June 24-27: Brandon, Geoff, Kian, Max, and Matt attended this camp in San Diego.  Not only did they receive instruction from 2008 Olympian Andy Hrovat and 2x NCAA champion (and current U. of Wyoming assistant coach) Chris Pendleton, but they wrestled 20 matches against teams from 5 different states: CA, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

Max, Geoff, Matt, Brandon, and Kian, with 2008 Olympian Andy Hrovat.

Max, Geoff, Matt, Brandon, and Kian, with 2008 Olympian Andy Hrovat.

Here is a video of Geoff, on his birthday, being used by Pendleton to demonstrate some principles.  Pendleton was trying to demonstrate the importance of movement and faking in the neutral position through an “ankle tag” contest.  The goal was simply to tag the partner’s ankles.  Pendleton–and remember, he’s a 2x NCAA champion and is currently #2 in the senior freestyle rankings–kinda “burns” Geoff a little in the middle of the video, but not before Geoff tags Pendleton’s ankle first!  He gets the hang of it after a bit and also tags a counselor’s ankles too, who wrestles at D1 Cal Poly SLO.  Happy birthday Geoff!  Luv ya buddy.  🙂

Everyone got a lot of good matches in and learned a lot about pushing through tough times.


*Ken Chertow’s camp, July 6-10: Calvin and Noah S. attended this camp in Ontario.  These guys fought like warriors for 5 days through a very tough camp (Ken Chertow was a 1988 Olympian).

Calvin and Noah S, pictured with a few of the Big Kat wrestlers, along with 4x All-American and 3x D1 NCAA finalist Gerry Abas.

Calvin and Noah S, pictured with a few of the Big Kat wrestlers, along with 4x All-American and 3x D1 NCAA finalist Gerry Abas.

*Currently, Mike Davis and Joey Ahmadzai are at Mark Munoz’s camp in San Diego.  Davis is attending the 10 day intensive camp, while Joey is attending the 5 day technique and intensive camp.


At Capo, we have a points system that measures the amount of off-season work a wrestler does.  It is simply an objective–rather than subjective–way to measure and gauge the amount of work a wrestler gets.  In order to wrestle in the upcoming season, a wrestler needs to obtain 30 points (which isn’t too hard and can be done in a few days, actually), and those who get over 80 earn a spot on our promotional poster for the season.  The benefit of it is that it measures mat time *objectively,* no guess work needed when considering how hard a wrestler has worked.  We have 14 who have earned their way onto the poster.  Last year we had 11.  The top points from last year was 191.  This year it is 335, set by Corey.  So we are moving forward.


The work these guys put in during the summer will pay off in the winter.  Like the title says, “they got better.”


The guys just returned from Camp of Champs, and I’m happy to report that they got their $$’s worth.  Here are some highlights:

*Shane Johnston: third place in the individual tournament!  This tournament is *very* tough, featuring state qualifiers and state placers, oftentimes from out of state.  Last year, he went 1-2 at this tournament.  He’s shown a lot of improvement in one year, mostly due to how much mat time he gets outside of our own practices.

Mr. Johnston displaying his medal

*Russell Fitzpatrick coming away from camp looking like he went to war.  Russell, just keep in mind: chicks dig guys with holes in their face (quote from a former UFC champ).

*Ryan Jeffries: not only did he go out every time, facing guys 25 pounds heavier than he, but he did it with a *great* attitude.  And: he sought out some exhibition matches with guys his size, and cleaned up on them!

*Michael Logan, Ryan Tye, Gilbert Medina, and Michael Davis wrestled every match they were assigned without sitting out one of them.  I’m sure they were sore and hurtin, but they wrestled through it.  And Logan was one of the chaps seeking out exhibition matches on the last day!  Tye and Jeffries already have their “Unbroken” shirts, but Medina, Davis, and Logan have earned theirs at this camp.

*Mr. Tye did an excellent job captaining the team.  I think we can all agree he’s got a lion’s heart and is a great captain.  And: him and Logan are attending a club practice tonight!  I don’t know about’re either gluttons for punishment, extremely dedicated, or both.  Logan got a taste of this and wants to go to more camps.  Shane wants to go to more COC camps this year too (there’s one in Fullerton, btw, that any of you can go to.  Go to for more info).  That’s the ticket, guys!

*Everyone got better at wrestling, and everyone (hopefully) became better young men (one of the good things about this camp is that they stress character development through wrestling, which is in line with our program goals.).  We should do this again next year.

*There was excellent parity of competition at this tournament: some teams were top tier, CIF champions-type teams, others were right about our level, and some were cream puff teams we could handle easily.  It’s great when a camp can strike that kind of balance.

*The clinicians were also balanced.  Kendall Cross showed more fancy moves, whereas Les Gutches was the more meat and potatoes basics stuff.

From left: Gilbert, Michael D., Shane, Jericho, Michael L, Ryan J, Corbin, Geoff, Ryan T. Not pictured: Russell Fitzpatrick and Jon Badger.

So we all got checked in yesterday.  Though we (I mean, I) got lost on the way, things went about as smooth as you could expect.

We were all very pleased to hear that our first clinician would be 2x NCAA champion and OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST Kendall Cross.  Yes, you read that right: the boys are currently being taught by an Olympic Gold Medalist.  Shoot, he was doing clinics when I was in high school.  I had the pleasure of watching him teach back in 1997.  The guy hasn’t aged a day since. 

It gets better: today former world champion Les Gutches takes over the teaching.  Gutches is the second most interesting wrestler I’ve ever met (first being my former college coach Russ Hellickson).  Gutches is articulate and smart.  The boys are in for a treat.  I won’t be there, so somebody please tell me they are taping the sessions!

The guys are all taking notes…literally (I bought them notebooks!)…and will have  a ton to work on when they get home.

As far as the matches are concerned, most of the boys are getting what they paid for: a royal butt whoopin’.  Thursday night we faced La Costa Canyon, a team from San Diego, and Hamilton, a team from Arizona.  Both teams were nails tough, and both teams kicked our butts like nobody’s business.  Russell Fitzpatrick went 2-0, and John Badger went 1-1.  That was all.  I shared with the guys that this is what they signed up for, and will pay off big dividends in the winter.

Each day brings more of the same: 3-4 hours of instruction, and at least 6 matches, most of them against pretty tough guys.  Good stuff.  Next year, we need to have 30 guys or so go.  It’s worth every penny.

Russell, controlling his opponent on the way to a win

Reminder to COC folks: meet at my classroom between 8:30 and 9am Thursday.  We will leave as soon as I get checked out.  Mike Davis, you are taking Geoff Mellor and Ryan Jeffrey, correct?  I can take Michael Logan and Shane Johnston.  David Acuna, can you take Ryan Tye?  I think that covers everyone that needs a ride.  Just in case someone else needs a ride, I’ll have an extra spot in my car, and David, I think you’ll have one more spot?  If need be, we can tie Russell F. onto my hood.

Secondly, if you have yet to give me your filled out paperwork, and the balance due ($280 if you’ve only paid deposit and will be staying in the dorm) made out to COC Wrestling.  If you don’t have that, they will not let you join the camp!

Lastly, we had a surprise pint-size visitor today.  In my humble, yet always correct opinion, she was a big hit…:)

On her way to see daddy and a bunch of goofy looking teenage boys...

The good thing about being a coach for CVHS wrestling is that there are some awfully dedicated wrestlers coming up.  It has been a pleasure seeing these core guys get in extra work, work that will pay off come winter.

One of them is Shane Johnston.  This guy lllloves wrestling.  At spring tournaments, not only will he volunteer to referee, but he’ll wrestle in 2 or more divisions.  He never backs down from a mat challenge.  He likes to wrestle tough guys.  Last year he went to Camp of Champs, had a blast, and can’t wait to go back this year.  Right now he’s recovering from surgery but is looking forward to getting back on the mat at camp.  What’s more, he gets in club work almost every day of the week.  That’s amazing!  In fact, his whole family are always eager and energetic volunteers, and are thus a backbone of this program.  It’s great to have the Johnstons on board!


A second tuff guy is Russell Fitzpatrick.  Last night both he and Christian Hauser were the only guys to attend the San Clemente scrimmage with Bakersfield High School.  Russell made a promise to me that he’d go, and later that night when I texted him, he replied, “I always keep my promises, coach.”  Which reminded me–I made a promise to my wife that I’d put together that baby swing, so Russell’s words were the kick in the rear I needed to finally get going on that. 🙂

He’s been taking advantage of a lot of those kind of opportunities.  He is a pillar of this program, and he’s going to make some waves in 2012.   No wonder he was on the wrestling page in the yearbook four times!

Right now, we have about 9-10 guys in this boat.  Will you join them?


Gotta get on your case a little here, fellas.  Currently we have only three signed up for C.O.C, one signed up for the Capo camp, and one is going to another summer camp.  The deadline for C.O.C registrations and deposits is next Wed!  Pretty much all of you have voiced to me that you want to improve, but it’s things like that that make me question your stated goals.

The Camp of Champs is quality.  Nowhere will you get the combination of quality instruction, close location,  quality matches *and* quantity of matches.  It costs $380, but that’s a deal.  If I were you I’d be all over it.

And as I’ve said many times, cost should not be an issue.  C.O.C has a fundraising letter on their website that you can download and use to raise the funds.  $380 is a cinch, no matter who you are.

Thirdly, the cost for the Capo camp is as low as it gets.  Most other camps at CVHS are double and triple that price.  And again, cost is not an issue for anyone–remember the stated discount!

To answer a question that I know I’m going to get: NO, the camps are not mandatory.  But many times in life, in order to reach your goals, you must choose to do something that no one forces you to do.

So: do you want to get better or not?  Stop talking…start doing.

All info you need is found in the “summer camp info” tab.

Several of you have told me that you intend to go to Camp of Champs in June.  However, you have not turned in the registration form nor the $100 deposit.

I need to send in the forms and deposit soon.  Can’t wait too much longer.

Therefore, the deadline for getting in your form and deposit is Wed, May 25.