By Ron Busch
Young persons can learn positive assets through sports like wrestling. Wrestling encourages good sportsmanship, self-confidence, friendship and the development of good, Christian character.
One opportunity for boys in grades 5-8 in Fort Wayne is the Future Saints Wrestling Club. This program combines athletes from area schools including St. Vincent de Paul; St. Charles Borromeo; St. Jude; Most Precious Blood; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; Queen of Angels; Our Lady of Good Hope; St. John the Baptist, New Haven; some area home school students; and others.
Last year the program had 45 student-athletes competing in classes of 75 to 195 pounds. This is a large increase in numbers from the 20 boys involved in 2010. Beginning in 2010, coaches Gary Weilbaker and athletic directors Paul Cassabon and Terry Coonan laid the groundwork for a successful program. They coached the boys until 2014. Every wrestler has a chance to wrestle, and last year each wrestler had at least one victory. Many graduates of the program go on to wrestling careers at Bishop Dwenger, Bishop Luers and Carroll High School.
The Future Saints Wrestling Club varsity posted a team record last year of 17-6, with over 220 combined individual victories. This year’s team will be coached by John Delaney, Dan Delaney, Dee Ferris, John Michaels and Phil Hilger. The season runs from January through March.
The Bishop Dwenger High School wrestling team and coaches also assist the Future Saints. Bishop Dwenger Coach John Tone and Athletic Director John Bennet provide the team with a practice facility, and location for conditioning. Official practices begin on Jan. 9.
The coaches expect 11 returning eighth graders from last year’s team; those 11 accounted for some 40 victories. The Future Saints Wrestling Club continues to gain student-athletes and popularity in the local area.
Interested student-athletes may complete online registration at www.saintv.org/school/Main Departments/athletics or by completing a registration form in the wrestling room during December conditioning. Cost is $50 per wrestler, which includes a warm-up shirt. Questions may be emailed to coach Coonan at firstname.lastname@example.org. All levels of experience are welcome.
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