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Wolverine wrestlers home from grueling mat camp
Aug 3, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor
Eat, sleep and wrestle.
That is what five Riverton High School wrestlers did from June 30 to July 27 at the J. Robinson Intensive 28-day wrestling camp in Minneapolis, Minn.
The five wrestlers were seniors Ahren Wempen, T.J. Galey, Rudy Batista and Beau Batista and junior Gavin Wilson.
"It was a great experience just being around the sport that we love," Wempen said.
Robinson is the head wrestling coach at University of Minnesota.
"We picked the camp because of the reputation," Wilson said. "It was the most intense camp that we could find. It does have the best reputation for improvement when the kids come back. It's like adding an extra season to your high school career."
Wilson said the key for the Riverton wrestlers at the camp was to focus on each workout and not look on how many days they had left.
Camp officials also stressed the importance of making sure wrestlers don't assume there is a limit on what they can do.
"While you are there, they teach you about the wall," Galey said. "You think that you are so exhausted that you can't do anything more. They teach you once you get the wall that you have to find a way to push the wall back. Every day they would push you to the wall."
The camp finished with a 15-mile run on the last day.
"It was a pretty crazy experience to run 15 miles non-stop," Wempen said. "Once you completed it you felt relieved."
Galey said he couldn't have gone through the camp experience without his teammates.
"It was really special to share this kind of thing with other people," Galey said. "They are doing the same that you are. You are not just limited to yourself on who you can talk to about it. It builds a lot of chemistry between us because you are just pushing yourself every day. It's going to help us in the season."
Galey, Wempen and Rudy Batista all finished in second-place in their weight classes last year at the Class 4-A state tournament in Casper. Wilson won the annual Ron Thon tournament and was fifth at the state tournament. Beau Batista finished third.
Galey is the only one of the five who will play football in the fall for the Wolverines. The other four will focus on the wrestling season that begins in mid November.
"We should be pretty good this year," Galey said.
Wempen said the wrestlers woke up every day at the camp at 6:15 a.m.
"We then ran," Wempen said.
After breakfast, the wrestlers practiced from 10 a.m. to noon.
The wrestlers would have a two-hour technique session after lunch. The day would end with a run.
"They were tough days," Wempen said. "We have movement all the time. You got a little bit of rest, but not much. "
The camp included high school wrestlers from Germany, Japan and the United States. There were no tournaments at the camp, but wrestlers were broken down into their weight groups.
"You had 60 kids per group," Wempen said.