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WRESTLING: Youngsters perfect skills during ‘Champ Camp’ at BSU

More than one hundred wrestlers are participating in the four day “Champ Camp” at Bemidji State University. Shown standing Ben Gindele (left) and Zach Nelson learn a new hold from instructor Phil Moen Kedick (right) on Friday afternoon. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — For the past decade Bemidji High School wrestling coach Rance Bahr and his staff have conducted a summer wrestling camp but last year they moved the event to BSU where they could take advantage of Tamarac Hall for housing and the Gillett Recreation and Fitness Center for instruction.

“During the first few years we had a small camp with mostly Bemidji kids,” Bahr said. “But last year, after we moved to BSU, we expanded the camp to four days and we had 60 kids attend.”

The move to BSU continues to pay dividends as about 100 kids were registered for the 2014 “Champ Camp” which began Thursday evening. The event will continue through noon on Sunday.

“The wrestlers are between the fourth and 12th grades and most of them live in communities north of St. Cloud,” Bahr said. “What we stress at the camp is teaching and reinforcing techniques.”

The camp instructors all have had successful collegiate careers and have combined to win nine Minnesota high school state championships and a pair of NCAA Division III individual titles. Another dozen camp counselors, all with successful high school wrestling backgrounds, also are on hand to supervise and instruct the campers.

“The camp is about teaching techniques that will help make the kids more successful wrestlers,” Bahr said. “All we ask is that they come with an open mind, listen to what we tell them and be willing to learn.

“Running the camp has been very enjoyable,” Bahr continued. “It benefits our program at Bemidji High School because our wrestlers are able to continue to work out during the offseason. But it also benefits wrestling throughout northern Minnesota and that is the ultimate goal of the camp.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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