SHERIDAN — An Olympic gold medalist, a two-time national champion, a current All-American and a Sheridan native fresh of an NCAA national tournament appearance were just a few of the individuals in Sheridan last week bestowing their knowledge in the sport of wrestling. The Sheridan Young Guns Wrestling Camp welcomed those four and other distinguished grapplers for a three-day camp inside Sheridan High School.
Eighty-five children ages 8-18 had the opportunity to learn, advance, ask questions and have fun with decorated and knowledgable wrestlers, and many were able to do so for free. EMIT Technologies paid for the coaches and clinicians so any Sheridanite who wanted to participate in the camp could for free.
“It’s really a great thing they have going on here for the Sheridan Wrestling Club kids,” said Hayden Hastings, a current University of Wyoming wrestler and former Sheridan Bronc.
“They get a free clinic with some of the best wrestlers in the world. Any time you can get knowledge from people like that, it’s going to be a good opportunity.”
Hastings, an NCAA qualifier this past season, was joined by teammates Montorie Bridges — a two-time NCAA qualifier and an All-American as a freshman — and Branson Ashworth, who just wrapped up a decorated career in the brown and gold. UW Associate Head Coach Ethan Kyle also made the trip, coming from Spearfish, South Dakota, where he was hosting another wrestling camp.
“We are bringing technique and wrestling strategy — those are the obvious things — but we are also trying to sneak in life lessons along the way as much as possible,” Kyle said. “In my mind, you’re trying to influence the youth to be good people and to strive to pursue things that are meaningful and difficult because of all the value that you’ll get from it. Certainly, we are also trying to grow the sport of wrestling.”
UW Assistant Coach Teyon Ware, a two-time national champion at Oklahoma; 2016 Olympic gold medalist Helen Maroulis; Marcie Van Dusen-Lane; and Mark Lane rounded out the illustrious crew of clinicians.
The kids worked on various wrestling drills, moves and strategies over the course of the three days. The clinicians roamed around and gave input when asked or whenever necessary.
Hastings did quite a bit of traveling for wrestling camps in his adolescent days and thus has a deep appreciation for the importance of such camps.
“Summer wrestling isn’t going to hurt you,” Hastings said. “You’re definitely going to get somewhere better if you pay any bit of attention. It’s also just a great excuse to get on the mat in the summer time.”
Hastings accompanied Bryce Meredith — a two-time NCAA runner-up — last year for the Young Guns Wrestling Camp and will look to play a similar role for the next couple of years in his hometown. Also on Hastings’ radar is a trip back to Sheridan in the winter of 2021.
Wyoming’s wrestling team will host a dual at Sheridan High School in 2021 to honor and celebrate Hastings, who is already enjoying a memorable career.
“It’s awesome,” Hastings said. “I got to see last year what they did with Bryce back in Cheyenne (Meredith’s hometown). They had huge turnouts and a great match, and I’m hoping to bring the same energy back to Sheridan.”