Wrestlers camping for 30 days

Summer camp just went to the next level.

The Alabama Wrestling Club, formerly known as the Alabaster Youth Wrestling Association, is housing a 30-day intense training camp for its wrestlers, who will all sleep, eat, shower and train at the facility on U.S. 31 until July 15.

The camp began June 15 and is designed to prepare the state’s wrestles for the Cadet/Junior Wrestling Nationals in Fargo, N.D., which begin the week after camp ends.

The concept of the camp is new to Alabama, which is continuing to grow in wrestling success.

“The idea came about because we wanted to be competitive with the other states, specifically up North. They’re so far ahead of us,” said Glenn Albarado, program director of the AWC.

Each week, wrestlers will train close to 28 hours, holding three-a-day sessions Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays and Saturdays will be two-a-days.

“It is a very intense camp. For the first two weeks it’s killing them,” Albarado said. “It’s about giving Alabama kids an equal playing field.”

The camp will start out intense, but training sessions will become less intense and shorter as the month goes on.

“That way they’ll feel like Superman by the time they leave to go to North Dakota,” Albarado said.

Last summer, AWC placed six wrestlers as All-Americans at nationals. They hope this camp will increase the number this year.

“Last year to get ready for Fargo we had a training camp, but not as much influence on the kids. Now that’s not the issue,” AWC coach Rod Gaddy said.

The 30-day camp will really be a combination of camps, as Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser will bring his boot camp to Alabaster for the third-consecutive summer June 26-28.

Other coaches who will be coming to Alabaster to help during the month are Barry Davis, head coach at the University of Wisconsin and Olympic silver medalist; Damir Zakhartdinov, a three-time Olympian from Uzbekistan; and Sam Hazewinkle, a former All-American wrestler at the University of Oklahoma who ranks among the top in U.S.

Gaddy said one thing he believes will help the wrestlers in Fargo is not only the intense training and coaching, but the bond they will build living together for a month in the office space at the wrestling facility.

“It’s iron sharpening iron all day, not just in the mat room or training room,” Gaddy said.

For more information about the camp, visit alabamawrestlingclub.com.