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WRESTLING: Women’s program begins at King College

By Jim Sacco
WRESTLING: Women’s program begins at King College

Andre Teague/Bristol Herald Courier

Angelina Miranda and Shanna Young grappler during a recent practice at King College

BRISTOL, Tenn.—Jason Moorman doesn’t see any differences between coaching men’s or women’s wrestling.

They’re all treated the same in the wrestling room, he said.

All the wrestlers have to prove themselves, whether they wear a jock strap or a sports bra.

Once they toe the line on the mat, they all need to have the intensity and that touch of nerves that keeps them “even keeled.”

Then there’s the giggling.

“Ah,” he said. “We’re dealing with that. I’m not going to get used to it. We’re working on a no-giggle policy.”

As if on cue, King College wrestlers Anna Cummings, Andrea Dorner and Samantha Lopez all giggled.

In all aspects (including the giggling) Moorman is right. The inaugural King College women’s wrestling team’s practice the Thursday before its first meet Saturday was ran with the same intensity as any men’s team.

Moorman didn’t lighten his voice either, barking instruction and words of wisdom in between the cadence of bodies slapping mats and grunts as they worked on escapes and defense.

“You have 15 seconds to weather the storm,” he told his wrestlers. “It’s gonna hurt. Bite the bullet. Beat the pain. You just got to weather the storm and get to your feet.”

He ended practice with a conveyer-belt conga line of twitching calves and flexing forearms as he blew the whistle to signal the girls to find a new opponent.

“Ready,” he said as the girls ran up the line to find their next match. “Wrestle.”

Followed by a rhythmic thud of bodies hitting the mat that thundered through the room.

“We told them they were going to be treated like men,” he said. “One reason they survived their high school [wrestling] rooms is because they were treated that way.”

Cummings, Dorner and Lopez all wrestled in high school. They’re used to the treatment.

“I was always treated like one of the guys,” Cummings said. “They were all like buddies to me. I never really felt any different.”

Lopez, who wrestled on her West Covina (Calif.) high school team with the boys before a girls team was initiated, went so far as to look as other girls on the team (there were three
others) as enemies.

“I was never allowed to wrestle the girls,” she said, breaking out into a sly smile. “My goal was to get them out of the room.”

Getting themselves into the room on the high school level was another challenge with a large opponent standing in their way – dad.

“I told my mom and she was OK with it,” Cummings said. “Told my dad and he said, ‘No you’re not.’ ”

Cummings let dad know she was already on the team. He relented, but didn’t want to see her crying on the mat, she said.

“That first match he sees you’re hand being raised, you look out and your dad is smiling,” Dorner said. “Yeah, my girl just beat your son.”

WRESTLING: Shanna Young shines in debut of King’s women’s team

By Allen Gregory | Sports Writer / Bristol Herald Courier
Published: November 1, 2009
Updated: November 1, 2009

WRESTLING: Shanna Young shines in debut of King’s women’s team

Andre Teague/Bristol Herald Courier

King College wrestler Anna Cummings listens to instructions during a recent practice.

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Shanna Young spent months preparing for her first major college exam. She lifted weights, ran sprints and trained for hours.

Young earned her reward Saturday morning in dramatic fashion. The freshman from Franklin County, Va., earned the first pin in the history of the King Tornado women’s wrestling program against Missouri Baptist.

“That came from a lot of hard work and practice,” Young said.

Saturday marked the first female collegiate wrestling matches ever held in the state of Tennessee, and King faced the ultimate challenge.

The Tornado opened the day with a 39-3 loss to defending Women’s College Wrestling Association national champions Oklahoma City University, then dropped a 30-15 decision to powerful Missouri Baptist.

Freshman Anna Cummings emerged as the other hero for King, winning her 48 kilogram match by decision against Oklahoma City.

Cummings, Young and most collegiate female wrestlers are forced to hone their skills by competing against males in high school. Cummings, a pre-engineering major from Marcellus, N.Y., was not intimidated by the challenging nature of her college debut.

“I definitely think it’s good to come out and face some of the top teams. This way we know what we’re going to face against later on, and it will help calm down our nerves,” said Cummings, who compiled over 100 wins during five years of high school wrestling.

Young displayed aggression, quickness and technical skills in the 67 kilogram weight class. Young led after the first period in her first match against 2008 WCWA All-American
Tessa Plan from Oklahoma City before losing by decision.

In her second match against Courtney Kinimaka of Missouri Baptist, Young appeared to be in trouble when she suddenly reversed holds on her opponent and scored a pin.

“[Kinimaka] put me on my back, but her positioning was off and I felt that I had an opportunity,” Young said.

Even Young seemed surprised by her compelling victory.

“I don’t know how I did that, but it feels good,” Young said.

In addition to winning two state titles in the female class in Virginia, Young finished second in the Kentucky-Tennessee state tournament as a senior.

“I was the only girl on the boys team most of the time in high school,” Young said. “I also used to do karate and weightlifting. It definitely helps with flexibility.”

Young considered wrestling at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., but she’s happy that she took the route down Interstate 81 to King.

“The program here is wonderful, and we’re definitely going to keep working to get better,” said Young, who was supported by five family members Saturday. 

King coach Jason Moorman hopes the trial-by-fire approach will pay dividends for his freshman-dominated squad.

“It’s tough anytime you compete two of the top teams in the country like this, but it’s important to let these women know what they need to do to be the best,” Moorman said. “A lot
of these girls have Olympic aspirations and dreams of competing on the world level, and they’re gonna have to beat wrestlers like this to reach that level.”

For King, the preparation for Saturday’s match was rigorous. Moorman led his athletes through twice-weekly weightlifting sessions at 6:30 a.m. along with sprints up infamous Mockingbird Hill near campus, seven-mile runs and daily practices which often lasted over two hours. 

“Our athletes have been working really hard to get to this match,” Moorman said. “We’ve just got to focus on not making as many mistakes in the future.”

Oklahoma City assistant coach Link Davis was impressed with the commitment and fundamentals of the King wrestlers.

“I see good things with King’s program,” said Davis, who wrestled on the men’s team at the University of Central Oklahoma. “King’s wrestlers stay in good position and their coach is doing a solid job with the team.”

Davis admitted women’s wrestling coaches must be resourceful in the recruiting process. The Oklahoma City roster includes just one competitor from Oklahoma.

“We’ve got wrestlers from just about everywhere, including California and Alaska,” Davis said. “Female wrestlers work hard and are eager to improve. It just takes a while to build a program.”

Oklahoma City has fielded a women’s wrestling team for three years.

The next match for King is Nov. 12 at the University of the Cumberlands.

“Cumberland won three national [WCWA] championships before finishing second in the nation last year,” Moorman said. “We might as well see these teams now rather than later in the season.”

Despite the losses Saturday, Moorman was pleased with the desire and excited about the potential.

“Nerves got to us a little bit and that’s to be expected,” Moorman said. “We know that we’ve got work to do, but I saw improvement in the second match and we’re going to leave here on a positive note.”

And Young earned a lifelong memory with her historic pin, which earned an ovation from King fans.

“It was a nerve-wracking day against tough teams, but we will all remember this,” Young said. (2760 645-2544


U.S. women's coach shows wrestlers all the right moves

By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer 11/1/09

The chance to learn from a wrestling luminary was enough for Kalani High senior Megan Yamaguchi to give up her weekend.

Yamaguchi and about 75 other wrestlers took to the mat the past three days for the 10th Annual Fall Wrestling Clinic at Moanalua High School.

The four-day clinic, which concludes with today's session from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., features U.S. women's national team head coach Terry Steiner.

Steiner, who won an NCAA championship at the University of Iowa in 1993, has headed the U.S. women's program since 2003 and produced several Olympic medalists and world champions, including Kapolei's Clarissa Chun, who won a world title in 2008.

"Every day has been something different; he's shown us so many different moves," said Yamaguchi, who was the state runner-up at 120 pounds last season. "The way that he coaches and the way that he teaches, it seems like there should be no way that you can't finish a move or not get the shot that you want. It's been really interesting."

Twelve-year-old Teshiya Alo, who has about a dozen national wrestling titles, was the youngest participant at yesterday's session.

"It's been awesome because I've learned a lot of new moves," Alo said. "When we get used to the techniques, then he has us spar to make sure we've got it and if we don't, he makes us do it over and over again."

Steiner said he hopes to instill a solid foundation, which the young grapplers can build upon.

"I'm not big on flashy or fancy stuff," Steiner said. "Basic wrestling is what wins matches and that's really what we're trying to cover. You don't really want to overload them with too much — it's only 12 hours of clinic — so you can't throw everything at them."

It's an approach appreciated by Punahou senior Jordan Ng.

"The clinic has been very educational and what I like about it is it teaches the basics and really reinforces them," said Ng, who placed second in the state last year at 108 pounds.

Despite a hectic travel schedule that will take him from Honolulu to New York City via Colorado Springs, and Vancouver, Canada and Tunisia all within the next month, Steiner said he couldn't miss this stop.

"I think it's important as a national coach to show up and get out across the states," Steiner said. "Particularly when they have these camps and clinics — and Hawaii's not a bad place to come."

Steiner also noted with the prep wrestling season coming up, it gave him more incentive.

"I can tell that the coaches have really put to use what we talked about before, because a lot of the stuff we're going over, the kids already know it a little bit," he said.

Ng said he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the clinic.

"This was something that I was very excited to attend," he said. "To have an Olympic coach here helping us out inspires me to just keep practicing."

Yamaguchi said she hopes to add to her repertoire with what she learned from Steiner.

"I think I'm probably going to pick and choose what I think I would be best at and work on it leading up to the season," she said. "I think it should give me some confidence when I shoot."

Besides the takedowns and turnovers, Steiner taught the wrestlers to practice patience.

"Our society today, we want things now, we want to see results right away and wrestling is just not a sport like that," Steiner said. "It's an art and you don't learn an art like that. It takes time, it's not going to come overnight and you have to put in the commitment and hard work to get there."

Steiner added: "I've been fortunate to have a lot of success in wrestling, but it didn't come with a lot of failure. There was a lot of failure and a lot of times when I was left shaking my head and wondering, 'What the heck am I doing?' But if you keep working and you persevere, good things will happen."


MVC Round-up: Beltz wins Pan-Am gold

Friday, October 30, 2009
By CHRIS ALLEN/Sports editor

Valley freshman Randi Beltz shows off her gold medal from the Pan American Junior Championships.
(MVC Athletics)
[Click to enlarge]
GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Freshman Randi Beltz of St. Clair made an impressive introduction to the Missouri Valley College women's wrestling program Friday.

Beltz won three of four matches to take first place in the 63-kilogram weight class in the FILA Pan American Junior Championships at Guadalajara, Mexico. Beltz was one of three members of Team USA to claim gold medals as it finished first among eight national entries.

Beltz was the first female wrestler to medal at the MSHSAA Championships, doing so twice.

The Lady Vikings take part in their first tournament this season Saturday at the McMaster Open in Hamilton, Ont.


Olympic coach hots clinic

October 30, 2009 5:12 PM
Special to the Press Gazette

Wrestling is a new sport to most in Santa Rosa County.

As the sport continues to grow clinics and opportunities to work with and learn more about the sport are rare and very valuable.

On Nov. 7, a free clinic will be hosted by Milton High School featuring the current U.S. Women’s Olympic wrestling coach Tadaaki Hatta.

Hatta, who has coached for his native Japan, Mexico, and USA in Olympic games since 1968, is a former NCAA Champions while attending Oklahoma State University.

During his bid to defend his 1965 Championship, Hatta finished third in 1966.

Following his graduation from OSU, Hatta finished the runner up in the USA National Freestyle Championships in 1964, 1967, and 1969.

Hatta also holds a black belt in judo and kendo.

The clinic at Milton High is free of charge and open to all ages.

This clinic is set to run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m


North Dakota

Optimist Club cites athletes for awards

10/30/09Alison Allmer and Jordan Piatz of Jamestown High School and Jamestown College’s Tiffany Sluik and Michael Sandness have been named athletes of the week by the Jamestown Optimist Club.

Alison Allmer and Jordan Piatz of Jamestown High School and Jamestown College’s Tiffany Sluik and Michael Sandness have been named athletes of the week by the Jamestown Optimist Club.