Young grapplers descend on Sweet Home for camp

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

More than 170 young grapplers descended on Sweet Home last week for the sixth annual Santiam Mid-Intensive Wrestling Camp at Sweet Home High School.

The four-day camp, from the evening of July 10 to July 14, had boys running the streets and hitting the mats in intensive two-a-day workouts of two hours each, interspersed with trips to Foster Lake and other recreational activities.

The camp was directed by Sweet Home wrestling coach Steve Thorpe and his former Oregon State University teammates, Roseburg coach Steve Lander, Thurston coach Mike Simons and Newberg coach Neal Russo.

Thorpe said one wrestler stopped a reported shoplifting at Safeway.

Steven Arrando, 17, of Thurston, was shopping at the store when he heard someone yell that a shoplifting was taking place. Arrando “took off running after the guy and got him by the backpack,” Thorpe said. The wrestler held the suspect until help arrived, he said.

Participants ranged in age and ability from a “hand-selected younger crew” and novices to middle- and high school wrestlers, including several state champions, Thorpe said.

He said that he appreciated the “huge comunity support.”

“We really appreciate the community opening up and allowing kids to patronize their businesses,” Thorpe said. “The (school district) cooks and custodial staff were wonderful. These people bent over backwards for us.”