GRANVILLE — It has been a time for going back to school in a wrestling sense for the Putnam County/Hall co-op wrestling squad. Head coach Jerry Kriewald, along with junior varsity coaches Joe Rue and Chris Quigley, have been working with the team on learning new wrestling moves and finetuning old ones.
The group has been attending camps as individuals and as a team since April 12. They have gone locally to places like the Amy Brothers Clinic in Princeton and as far away as the University of Wisconsin Whitewater High School Camp. The team has also been practicing on the mats in the mezzanine area of the R.M. Germano Gym once and twice a week.
“We have had 10-12 kids in attendance each practice. The kids work an hour and a half straight through to build up stamina,” Kriewald said. “Monday nights are more instructional based.”
Varsity members feel they have benefitted from the schedule. Hall’s James Hall has enjoyed the challenge.
“It’s great now that I have earned my spot on the varsity squad,” Hall said. “I will be in better shape going into football and then wrestling for the winter.”
Mario Flores and Luke McCook of the Putnam County side also agree with Hall that they have learned a lot this summer to date.
“We went to Mendota,” McCook said. “We learned how to stay healthy and not get hurt with cardio and warm-ups. We went to different school camps than we had ever gone to before so we could learn different moves and ways to wrestle better. They teach different stuff in their own ways.”
“We also all went to the Whitewater Camp,” Flores said. “We went over several different types of moves and how to perform them. We also learned about different types of cardio and how to balance out your body.”
McCook, who wrestles at the 160-pound level and Flores, who is currently working at the 132-pound level, both have specific goals this upcoming season which will be challenging as the PC/Hall now wrestles in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A level and also in the extremely tough Three Rivers Athletic Conference during the regular season.
“I want to be a sectional qualifier and go as far as I can this year. Leave everything on the mat as it is my last year,” Flores said.
McCook said, “I want to try to beat my winning record and go as a sectional qualifier as well.”
Preparing to wrestle at a higher level of competition is not just about body, but the mind. Flores noted that mental preparation is just as important as the physical. Wrestling’s quick action means that competitors often have to think several moves ahead during a match.
“You never know what can happen on the mat,” Flores said.