Upon entering the wrestling room at Seymour High School, there’s a bold purple sign that reads “Wrestle Like a Champion.”
That’s exactly the goal of many of the wrestlers that train throughout the school year and certainly the goal of those who made the commitment to train this offseason through the Seymour Wrestling Club.
Members of the Seymour wrestling team and younger students in the Seymour school system wrapped up a four-session wrestling camp Monday evening to hone in techniques to help them wrestle like champions.
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A total of 34 participated throughout the four days.
If wrestling like a champion is their ultimate goal, they had a strong cast of instructors throughout the camp.
Seymour wrestling coach Todd Weaver brought in Blake Maurer and Matt Coughlin of Maurer Coughlin Wrestling Club in Evansville to head up the camp.
Maurer, a 2011 inductee to the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame, won the state wrestling tournament four times as a high school student and was ranked No. 1 in the country prior to wrestling at Ohio State.
He operates the wrestling club with Matt Coughlin, a two-time state champion that went on to wrestle and earn All-American honors at Indiana University.
Between the two of them, they only lost six matches while accumulating 365 wins in their high school careers.
This is the first time the program has hosted such a camp, as it previously brought in college coaches to talk and discuss techniques.
For junior Brandon Penegar, a member of the Seymour wrestling team, the benefits from attending the camp already have shown signs of improvement.
He said he has been able to firm up his fundamentals and has gained strength in different techniques. He and some of his teammates wrestled at a camp over the weekend in Greenwood, and he said he applied what he had learned, and it paid off.
“When we wrestled this weekend, I could definitely see results,” he said, sweat dripping from his face after the last session. “I haven’t wrestled well the last few weeks, and I think this has helped me, and I’ve applied what I’ve learned here to what I’m doing.”
Weaver said he could tell the group wrestled with more sharpness, especially given the fact they had not wrestled competitively for nearly a month.
“I thought we looked really good over the weekend,” he said. “Everyone seemed to wrestle really well.”
Penegar said the exercises Maurer and Coughlin covered helped him with technique.
“The drilling aspects and working on my shots has really helped,” he said. “It’s about building good habits.”
Zach Newton, a senior on the team, shared the same sentiment.
“I think it mainly helped me with my drilling skills and habits,” he said.
Newton said he felt like some of the things that were reinforced during the camp will help him build up some of his weaknesses on the mat.
“I haven’t been very good at bottom position, and I feel like I’m going to build up the skill to get off and get going with it,” he said.
Weaver said his team has not only received great tips on techniques but has also been exposed to a great philosophy to apply to wrestling.
“It’s not just what they’re showing to them, it’s also what they’re saying to the kids,” he said.
He added that most of what the camp has been about is reinforcing what he and other coaches have asked of the kids.
“Now, you have these national-level coaches coming in and saying exactly what their coach has been telling them, and I think they’re seeing that what we’re showing them is good stuff because guys of this level are saying the same thing,” Weaver said.
Mixing in different coaches can have its benefits, Weaver said.
Sometimes, breaking up the everyday coaching routine and substituting it with a fresh perspective can have a positive impact, and that’s one of the reasons he decided to host the camp.
“We’ve coached some of these kids for a long time, and to see the same coach all the time can kind of create too much of a pattern,” he said. “So having guys come in that are a little fresh and obviously know what they’re doing, it can bring in some enthusiasm and gets them fired up again.”
Weaver said the camp should also help with some techniques where the team sometimes struggles.
Those struggles are common among high school wrestlers, he said.
“We are working on top and bottom tonight,” Weave said.
Weaver said the bottom position is one the average high school athlete struggles with because
“It’s hard to get away from a guy and keep a good base,” he said. “When you’re getting taken down, you should be prepared to get away.”
One area Weaver said he appreciated the instructors covering is dialing up the intensity.
Weaver said while his team is fundamentally sound, he would like to see them raise the level of the intensity.
“We are pretty good drillers, but we don’t always drill at the right level,” he said. “We just want them to go a little bit harder, and that’s something we keep hearing them say, and I think it will help.”
He said the program does not lack athletes willing to participate. Speaking with coaches across the state, Weaver has some coaches green with envy with the number of participants he is able to produce.
“A lot of coaches will ask me how many we have coming in, and I will tell them, and they just shake their head wishing they could get that,” he said. “So I think our team does not lack dedication.”
The team has 24 kids returning after graduating five seniors but has between eight to 10 freshmen that will come into the program this fall.
“I think we will be in the low 30s this fall,” he said.
Weaver hopes the conclusion of the camp will bring his team some excitement as it heads into the offseason.
The team will have another five-day camp in Missouri at the end of the week, but after that, Weaver said the workload will slow down considerably until the weeks leading up to the season beginning in November.
“I think what we can get out of this is the kids getting refreshed, and I think we’ve already seen that with how our kids have wrestled this weekend, and I hope this camp gives us some fire,” he said.
Any time one of Weaver’s wrestlers needs a reminder, they will need to just look at the sign when they walk up for practice.