SHINGLE SPRINGS — The fifth annual California Gold Wrestling Camp that ended Wednesday drew 17 teams from two states totaling 280 wrestlers between the grades of incoming freshmen to soon-to-be seniors.
Ponderosa hosted the three-day camp on six mats which saw each team participate in nine dual matches. Area teams included the Bruins and Vista del Lago while Bret Harte, Calaveras, Cosumnes Oaks, Elk Grove, Davis, Pitman, Hollister, Escalon, Weston Ranch, Atwater, Turlock, Placentia’s El Dorado, Quartz Hill and Nevada’s McQueen and Arbor View were also in attendance.
“We’ve changed formats. We used to do an individual camp but now it has more of a team aspect,” Ponderosa coach Tyson Escobar said. “This is the biggest camp we’ve had. Our kids got a lot better, wrestled a lot of matches, had good mat time, saw different styles and had a ball.”
Assisting Escobar was Bruin coaches Soren Murphy, John Garcia and Alex Greybill. Lending a hand was former Bruin Jesse Routsong, now at Embry Riddle University, and Dickinson State’s Chris Brusato and Jesse Hellinger.
“The college kids taught a lot of technique, talked about getting good grades and being involved in your school. Things like always doing the right things and the fact that they’re taking the time (now) to improve their skills can be the difference next season,” Escobar said.
The excursion to the foothills and subsequent stay in local camping spots held special meaning for several city teams: seeing deer, fishing, hiking to University Falls and roasting marshmallows for the first time.
“Team bonding, team building and hanging out with teammates — that and wrestling goes hand-in-hand,” Escobar said.
Some of the ground covered during the three days included, top/bottom techniques, leg rides, tilts and turns and various stand-up moves from the bottom.
Twenty three Bruin wrestlers were among the campers. Ponderosa will travel to Placentia next month to attend El Dorado’s Camp of Champions in Orange County.