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Hi-Line Living: Havre Wrestling Club

Wrestling lil' guy style

In the newly opened wrestling facilities at Havre High School, children were enjoying their first week of practices away from the old Mat Corner.

Young children starting at age 5 were running through exercises and wrestling techniques during Wrestling Club practice Tuesday. Coaches and parent volunteers worked with them, going through exercises and relays.

Head coach Tyrel Stygles has been with the club for four years but has been wrestling since he was 5.

"The kids learn a lot," Stygles said. "They learn a lot of life values: independence, hard work - general life factors."

Stygles wrestled all through high school and his years at Dickinson College and said that the sport and club have a lot to offer.

"We have the college kids that come down when they can; the high school kids come in," Stygles said. "This is the building block to Havre's program right here."

Stygles said that a kid jumping into the club activities with no experience has to work hard, but it is worth the effort.

"It takes a little work, but it's just like every other sport out there," he said. "We just work with them and we let them go at their pace, and they kind of catch on to everyone else's pace."

The Wrestling Club is headed by a board of 10 or 11 people who help keep things running, said Wrestling Club president Eric Wilting. The people who help keep the program up and running are all volunteers.

"It's just a really good organization," he said. "We get a lot of help from parents, who help coach with the kids. ... Our experienced coaches and everyone around helping out is phenomenal."

The club is more than 20 years old and has been preparing wrestlers to join wrestling programs in Havre and at colleges around the nation.

The kids practice every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday during the club's season. Practices are split into two sections.

"We try to put the younger kids and the less experienced kids in the beginning group," Wilting said. "We still cover all the same stuff, but we just do it at a slower pace."

During the season, the coaches will go from the basics of wrestling through all the techniques the kids need to compete every season. This season, the coaches are teaching 80 to 90 kids how to compete on the mat.

"Once you get a good group of kids like this, it's what helps out with the high school," Wilting said. "It's a feeder program. ... We just try to get them up in the middle school and they really flourish with the good coaches we have up there."

He added that if he had to guess, about three-quarters of the team at the middle school was a part of the Wrestling Club at one time.

The club is now practicing in Havre High School's new wrestling facility. Tuesday was their second practice since the doors opened to them.

Wilting said Tuesday that they are still in the process of moving everything from the Mat Corner to the new facility and, so far, everyone is really liking the new space.

"The kids like it," Wilting said. "It's easier for our coaches to communicate with our kids because it's not a confined, close space."

"It's awesome," Stygles said. "It's a huge improvement. It's nice to have separation from the parents. They can still watch and we can coach without all the talking going on. It's not quite as loud in here."

The season for Wrestling Club begins after Christmas break for the schools and ends in March. During that time, young students can learn everything they need to become a force on the mats in the middle school and high school programs, and eventually, college.

With a strong force of community members supporting it by running operations and parents entering their children, the decades-old wrestling club shows no sign of tapping out any time soon.


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