Mount Shasta High School wrestlers went from summer vacation to maximum effort when they attended a camp at Southern Oregon University in Ashland from Wednesday to Sunday.
The camp was led by SOU head wrestling coach Mike Ritchey and his national champion and all-American wrestlers who have led the Raiders to 38 consecutive winning seasons, including an NAIA National title in 2001.
It was all about wrestling, according to Mount Shasta coach Kim Baldi, who attended the camp with seven of his returning wrestlers, Keven Cassells, Matt Houston, Andre DeGray, Tyler Witherell, Bryson Brooks, Travis Clark, and Kenny Galten.
Two other Bears, brothers Matthew and Marcus Buchanan, were attending a wrestling camp in Modesto at the same time.
“That’s nine of our 13 returners at camp,” said Baldi. “They’re picking up good experience... I respect them for giving up summer to come to a camp like this. Having guys like that makes it worthwhile to volunteer to coach.”
They were all sore after the first two days of camp Wednesday and Thursday, but all agreed that it was “good pain,” as Brooks put it.
The Bears also agreed that working with such knowledgeable wrestlers will “definitely” help them be better.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it,” said DeGray, a junior.
“I learned some things that will do miracles for me,” said Houston, a senior.
Brooks and Baldi both cited a quote by wrestling great Dan Gable, who once said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life comes easy.”
Baldi pointed out that 10 of the 16 wrestlers on last year’s team earned scholar-athlete patches.
Days at the SOU camp were split into a series of 2 to 2 1/2 hour technique sessions in a scorching hot gym, followed by wrestling scrimmages against other campers in the evening.
Baldi said many good wrestlers attended the camp, coming from as far away as Alaska.
The camp was one part of a big effort the Bears are putting forth this season in an attempt to qualify more team members to the Masters Section.
Mount Shasta’s record for Masters Section qualifiers is five in one season. Baldi said they hope to break that record this coming winter.
An unfunded club sport at MSHS, Baldi said the wrestling team is in need of an assistant coach. Anyone interested can call the high school at 926-2614.