School wrestling sees change

The new Alberni Valley Elementary Wrestling program has been initiated and the numbers are fantastic.

Students practice their moves under supervision in the EJ Dunn gymnasium for the first elementary school wrestling play day last week.

Students practice their moves under supervision in the EJ Dunn gymnasium for the first elementary school wrestling play day last week.

The new Alberni Valley Elementary Wrestling program has been initiated and the numbers are fantastic. Seven local elementary schools are running after school wrestling programs this fall and close to 200 kids are involved.

This new program in the elementary schools builds on a development program coordinated by Alberni Valley Wrestling and the wrestling programs at ADSS and the local middle schools.

For more than 30 years the local wrestling program has had athletes visit elementary schools in June to hold introductory demonstrations and try it sessions and in July interested kids have traditionally had the opportunity to attend a free three-day summer Kids Wrestling Camp.

For the past six years that program expanded to a month of introductory practices each January followed by an elementary session at the Alberni Invitational Tournament.

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“With the reorganization of schools in the valley we were disappointed to lose our middle school wrestling programs and wanted to make sure that we adapted our development program to take advantage of the new model,” stated new Wood Elementary Vice Principal James Messenger.

“We have worked with assistance from the BC After School Sports Program, staff at each school and the Alberni Valley Wrestling program to develop wrestling programs at each K-7 elementary school in the valley.”

Teacher sponsors have stepped forward and alumni from the Alberni-based wrestling fraternity have volunteered to coach.

Since mid-September each school has held after school wrestling practices each Tuesday and Thursday. The participants are both boys and girls ranging primarily from grades 4-7 but some exceptions have been made.

Most schools have had 20-30 kids coming out on a regular basis and some have had up to 40 participants.

Wood and Neill schools have already hosted a wrestling play day. Another is planned for Nov. 5 with the first-ever Alberni Valley Elementary Wrestling Tournament planned for Friday, Nov. 13 at ADSS from 3–6 p.m. for all of the seven local schools and likely Ucluelet as well.

“We are thrilled with the response to this new initiative,” Alberni Wrestling president Tom McEvay said.

“We are excited to help and support the local schools with this program and we thank the sponsor teachers and coaches for stepping forward. We also thank JAL Designs for working with us to provide shirts for each of the new teams.”

The Elementary Wrestling Program is just one part of the reorganization of the local wrestling programs.

With no middle schools ADSS will now run both Junior Varsity and a Senior Varsity programs. ADSS practices start the first week of November.

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