Several Rolla wrestlers had the chance to expand their horizons this week, traveling to Wisconsin with coaches Marty Hauck and Jeremy Jamison for the Askren Wrestling Camp. The camp is run in part by the Askren brothers, who were both National Champions at Mizzou. Eight Bulldogs made the trip and got a chance to see wrestlers from across the country.
Rolla left for the camp on Father's Day and took part in the camp until returning to Rolla on Wednesday. Coach Hauck brought four incoming freshmen Andre Ridenhour, Hunter Hoffman, Reese Clark and Dakota Kelly, as well as four returners in Ethan Weinbaum, James Wick, Dathan Mickem and Colton Franks. Because Rolla didn't have a full team, the Bulldogs were spread out to different teams for duals. Wick's team was able to wrestle their way into the finals. The camp was full of both matches and lessons for players. Coach Hauck was excited by what he saw from all of his wrestlers.
"Andre Ridenhour had an extremely great camp, really showed a lot of positive things, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with," said Hauck. "Hunter Hoffman is an incoming freshmen, he's a little guy that's been on the mat quite a bit, he's done well, he's placed in tournaments before and he had a good camp as well. You had Reese Clark, who's going to be a bigger kid that's going to have a big role with us this year and he had a solid camp, he worked hard, it was great and then you had Dakota Kelly and he's another that's going to be in that 60-65 pound range that's going to help us. It's been one of our "weaker" areas, so he's going to be a great freshman to come in and just compete."
Coach Hauck continued with his upperclassmen, "Ethan Winebaum, he had a good camp, learned a lot and got better as the week went on. Really saw huge improvement with him. James Wick was a first year wrestler last year and he really grew this week as well and started trying things in the middle of his matches, which is good to see, because I could care less if they win or lose up there, but we did win...Dathan Mickem had an outstanding camp, he's really wrestling at a high high level," said the Rolla head coach. "Colton Franks had a good solid week and he got to see some good competition, that was one of the best things for him."
Rolla wasn't able to bring two of their top wrestlers, because they've got some bigger fish to fry. Nate Pulliam, who nearly finished his freshman season with a perfect record, is training to take part in the Fargo Tournament, which is one of the largest wrestling tournaments in the country. Teammate Zach Fennell nearly joined him in Fargo, but fell just short of qualifying. Fennell is now helping Pulliam train for the tournament, which will take place mid-July.
The camp wasn't just for the wrestlers. Coach Hauck said that he and coach Jamison were both able to learn a lot from other coaches and wrestlers at the camp.
"(The college wrestlers) would show a move and then I would go be a participant like our kids, because that's how I learn the best. We would video whoever was demonstrating, we would take notes and then I would go grab a college kid and we would drill it. Then our kids would go with their's and coach Jamison could go around, supervising and learning in his style," said coach Hauck. "It was very productive and I learned a lot of moves."
Coach Hauck has been taking wrestlers to this camp for five years now and loves the experience it gives his athletes.
"This is my fifth year taking kids up there. I took kids when I was in St. James up there too," said coach Hauck. "It's really beneficial because you get kids out of the state, so they see different state competition, they see international competition, because you've got kids and coaches there that have competed internationally, which is huge."