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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Wrestling numbers boom as Dodge City looks to build tradition

  • With four top 10 finishes in the 6A High School tournament in the past four years, the Dodge City High School wrestling team is on the fast track to becoming a contender very soon. It also helps when more people, including kids, are taking an interest to the sport than in recent memory.


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  • With four top 10 finishes in the 6A High School tournament in the past four years, the Dodge City High School wrestling team is on the fast track to becoming a contender very soon. It also helps when more people, including kids, are taking an interest to the sport than in recent memory.
         Despite the high school season being done for quite some time, there is still a fervor for wrestling as camps get underway across the nation. Couple that with the largely successful Southern Plains Regional competition, and you have a recipe for something great.
         This week, Red Demon wrestling head coach Lars Lueders has been developing the nex generation of Dodge City greats during his annual summer youth camp. The festivities began on Monday and run through Thursday, with over 40 kids signed up for the tutorials from the former Western State collegiate athlete.
         "We're really excited about the numbers we've gotten so far and what it means for the future of Red Demon wrestling," Lueders said. "What we want to get out of this camp is to get the kids back in the room, sure up their basics, and kind of knock the rust off a little bit. We also want to teach them some new moves to keep them excited and keep them coming back."
         During the first two days of the camp, Lueders says that the group has been focusing on the basics of wrestling, such as stance, posture, and technique. While many of the participants are members of one of the various wrestling clubs, there are still some who are new to the standard shot and defense machinisms utilized by Lueders and his staff.
         The camp is open to any incoming middle school or high school students that have a physical on file, and is still open to kids that wish to join. On top of learning the fundamentals, the kids have had some down time with live matches and games to keep things light and free-flowing. It runs from 6-8 p.m. each day.
         "What we're excited about is that we have some tremendous kids," Lueders said. "I've seen a lot of the middle school wrestlers, and a lot of them have continued their career into Wrangler wrestling and the Southwest Kansas  Wrestling Club for freestyle and Greco wrestling. We recognize most of the faces and the names, and that's what really establishes that relationship to keep them excited."
         Wrestling has been all the buzz lately ever since the conclusion of the Southern Plains tournament, which was held two weekends ago at the United Wireless Arena. Over 500 kids showed up to compete, filling up hotel rooms and giving the Dodge City economy a shot in the arm.
         But the big news came when it was announced that the city won the bid to kid the tournament here for the next three years, edging out larger cities such as Dallas, Albuquerque, and Pueblo. For Lueders, it's an exciting time in southwest Kansas wrestling as kids will be given an opportunity to wrestling on one of the bigger stages in the country.
    Page 2 of 2 -      "I was ecstatic that they were able to bring it back to Dodge City, the people involved, including Scott Edwards, did a fantastic job running it," he said. "It definitely gave Dodge City wrestling some exposure and I thought the whole freestyle session went well for our kids."
         He went on to mention the potential impact of having the Southern Plains Regional in town and what it could do for the high school talent level in a few years.
         "All of this is just going to make us better down the road," he said. "It showed our kids that there's more there than just tournaments around the area, that they could go all over the country to wrestle. It gets our kids on the mat and there's nothing better than extra mat time."
         As for the rest of the summer, the Dodge City wrestlers will head to Gunnison, Colo., for the Rocky Mountain Wrestling Camp, where the top teams in tha nation will be training at Western State College. During the camp, the wrestlers will see 15 live matches and it will also feature a live scoring event.
         Last summer, the Dodge participants placed 3rd overall, which was a great accomplishment according to Lueders. The camp will take place June 20-24 and is the longest running wrestling camps in the country.
         "Not only do they get live matches, but they get technique from some of the best in the country and our kids always look forward to that," he said. "There are 100 teams that go, so our 3rd-place finish last year is something we're extremely proud of."
         Finally to round out the summer, Lueders and and his staff will host technique sessions every Tuesday and Thursday, which is open to any individual that wants to become better at the sport. For more information about the summer sessions, or to sign up, contact coach Lueders and lueders.lars@usd443.org.
     

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