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Bullfrog Wrestlers Travel To Regional, State Tournaments

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Angels Camp, CA — Among the Mother Lode student-athletes who made it to this season’s state championships is a talented team of youth wrestlers.

AMA (Angels-Murphys-Arnold) Youth Sports officials are sharing the results of a recent tournament to which members of their elementary school-aged wrestling team traveled.

Four wrestlers qualified for this year’s SCWAY Kids State Wrestling Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis that took place on March 16. They are fourth grader Robert Grycel from Copperopolis Elementary; also, fourth grader Emett Ormond and third graders Matthew Valente and Aiden White, who are all Mark Twain Elementary students.

The athletes wrestled two or more matches each against other state qualifiers traveling from as far as San Diego with Grycel clinching three match wins, which earned him a sixth place finish in the 10U 53lb class.

On March 3 at the annual SCWAY Nor Cal Kids Tournament of Champions hosted by Escalon High, Valente was the 8U 70lb champion, and first grader Cash Day, who attends Mark Twain El, placed second in the 8U 65lb class. Day, placed sixth at last year’s SCWAY Kids State Championship in the 6U 68lb class and hopes he will be wrestling again for a state win in the 2020 season.

A Season For Building Participation, Advancing Skills

AMA Youth Wrestling Director Nic Valente shares, “This year has been especially good for gaining new wrestlers and establishing their foundation while the returning wrestlers did a great job with advancing their abilities.”

After Bret Harte High wrestling practice ends high school-level coaches and Bret Harte alums hold sessions for the youngsters whose ages range from four to 13. Their four-month long season began in early November with over 30 youth wrestlers who competed in seven SCWAY Zone 2 tournaments. Some of the young athletes competed in up to a dozen tournaments.

Head Coach Nathan Vader, who has been coaching the up-and-coming Bullfrog wrestlers through the AMA program for the past six seasons, was Bret Harte’s head wrestling coach for five seasons, in which he coached both of his assistant coaches – Ben Garcia and Dan Lawson. Under Vader’s 2003-2008 tenure the Bullfrogs had two state qualifiers, three section medalists and won two league championship titles.

Ahead of the championships, the young wrestlers’ regular season concluded with an awards banquet during which team members received special awards from their coaches. They are as follows: Best of the Best, Cash Day and Kent Knick; Coaches’ Awards, Emett Ormond, Brandon Quashnick and Matthew Valente; Most Improved, Robert Grycel; Most Wins, Quinn Felix; Pin Master, Cash Day; Rookie of the Year, Grady Drayton; Honorable Mentions, Gavin Drayton, Julius Hill, Damien Martinez and Aiden White.

Practices begin for the new season next week. For more information on the AMA youth programs, click here.