New faces and a new technique will benefit Alberni Valley wrestlers who are trying out for the national championships, says former Olympic wrestler Travis Cross.
More than 20 high school wrestlers attended the Nationals Preparation Camp held at Alberni District Secondary School during spring break.
The wrestlers came from Port Alberni, Cowichan, and the Lower Mainland.
The camp is for wrestlers who are headed to nationals tryouts.
Working out with new partners benefits wrestlers, Cross said.
“When you practice against the same people all of the time you know each others’ styles and know what to expect,” he said.
“Mixing it up prevents that kind of predictability.”
New faces in a new place was also nice for wrestlers who came from Vancouver’s John Oliver High School, head coach Chris Fuoco said.
John Oliver had access to a high level camp at SFU but came to Alberni instead.
“The training is good, the competition level high and it was nice to get the kids out of the city for a bit,” Fuoco said.
The goal of the camp was to refine wrestling technique and not introduce new ones, Cross said.
“We’ll build on skills that are already there and get them to wrestle in situations they’ll see at the nationals.”
Training took place every day, three times a day, Cross said.
There was a morning run and outdoor fitness.
A second late morning session involved wrestling technique.
And a third session in the evening involved technique plus matches.
“The morning workout was something I learned when I was at a camp overseas. It wakes up your body and your mind,” Cross said.
The wrestlers might have been doing something hard during what was supposed to be spring break, but this was something they wanted to do, Cross said.
“That shows dedication. Those are the kids who are very coachable and I like that,” he said.
“It makes you want to give your best so they can perform their best.”