Huskies host Oregon Junior National Camp

Sweet Home hosted its third Oregon Junior National Wrestling Team Camp last week, bring the best grapplers from across the state and Canada into the community.

Husky Coach Steve Thorpe said the Junior Director is Steve Lander of Roseburg. He was joined by freestyle coach Brad McBee of Eagle Point and Greco Roman coach Neil Russo of Newberg.

The squad left Oregon Thursday for Fargo, North Dakota and started wrestling Monday.

Two Sweet Home wrestlers, Rob Martin, heavyweight, junior, and Matt Harkey, 189 pound, junior, are members of the Oregon Cadet team.

Martin lost two matches in Greco and Harkey was 1-2. Both grapplers were scheduled to begin freestyle competition Wednesday.

“We have unique training opportunity,” Coach Steve Thorpe said. “We have the athletes who are training for the nationals and we have the local campers who can train with them. It’s special to be able to train with that caliber of wrestler.”

Camp included 33 junior national qualifiers and 14 members of the Canadian National Team.

Coach Thorpe said the quality of clinicians this year was exceptional. Sessions were led by Chuck Kearney, UO head wrestling coach; Shane Bradley, who has coached the Canadian team to 10 national titles and was the 1992 Canadian Olympic team coach; Joe Wells, OSU head coach; Jeff Cardwell, OSU assistant coach.

“We held two intense training sessions each day,” Coach Thorpe said. “It was especially tough due to the intense heat last week. Coach Hummer provided the kids with numerous fun activities during the afternoon.”

Coach Thorpe said the coaching staff, including Tim Boatwright and Shannon Stover, donate their time to the camp.

“I’d say this was the toughest camp we’ve had in three years,” Coach Thorpe said. “I also believe our national team is the best we’ve sent in that time.”

Coach Thorpe said numerous community members should be thanked including the cafeteria and janitorial staffs at the high school and the Rio Theater which hosted the team to a special showing of Star Wars.

“Next year will be special because it will be the first camp to be held in our new gymnasium,” Coach Thorpe said.