Gering Wrestling Club prepares tomorrow’s champions
     2014-04-17      By Philip Eckerberg   
Photo by Philip Eckerberg/for the Citizen - Gering Wrestling Club members from left, Nate Rocheleau, Quinton Chavez, Kaid Ybarra-Corbett and Conall Mostellar spar with each other to perfect their skills. In the background is Coach Jarred Berger and future wrestler, young Bodie Berger. 
Working with today’s youth, building tomorrow’s champions. This is the motto of the Gering Wrestling Club and it sums up what the club is working to accomplish, preparing young wrestlers to compete on the mats as the future champions of area high schools and into college.

Mike Garcia, president of the Gering Wrestling Club said the program is designed to teach younger kids basic wrestling and mat skills. Attitude, discipline and sportsmanship are stressed as well.

The club has existed for more than 20 years, of which Garcia has been involved for 17. Garcia’s own children have participated in the club with one child currently participating in the club.

Garcia said children ages four to 14 can be a member of the club. Dedication is required as practice is held three times a week on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Practices are usually held at the Gering High School mat room with the Junior High being used is an alternative if the high school is not available.

The high school wrestling season may be over for this year but the club is still going with more tournaments planned. There will be a dedicated core of 12-20 boys who will stick with it through the summer. The club stays active most of the year.

The club will participate in a tournament every weekend January through March. Summer club members can have tournaments every Saturday and Sunday so there could be 20 to 35 tournaments a year or more.

Garcia said this year there were 97 children involved, about normal for the club. The list of alumni is long and distinguished, including names like Jared Berger, Mario Ybarra, Anthony Ybarra, and Frank Ybarra.

Head Coach Frank Ybarra said that with younger wrestlers they get them involved and interested. They start with the basic fundamentals. Ybarra said that all of the Gering wrestling coaches are involved from the club wrestlers to the Junior High’s Willie Schwartzkopf and the High School’s JJ Behrens. They use the same techniques and the same terminology so that the athletes do not have to transition from one level to the next.

Ybarra said that Gering has always had a strong wrestling tradition, yet it has fallen off somewhat and they are working to get back to where it needs to be.

Ybarra said that even though the club starts accepting children at age four, children are welcome to enter the program at any age. Ybarra said that it really does not matter when they start, the technique is the same. “We have all shapes all sizes and all ages,” he said.

Ybarra said the club has grown since he took over the coaching duties five years ago. They have been trying to get bigger and better. Ybarra said that they are traveling a lot more. They have joined a league from Colorado, the Pikes Peak League which starts in September. The local season starts the first of January and just finished last weekend. Now they are jumping into freestyle. With the club, kids can wrestle all year long.

This summer they will have two camps, an intensity camp the first part of June and later in a High School dual camp and an elementary camp. A club from Pueblo, Colo., is planning to attend. Wreslters from The University of Nebraska will assist with the camp held in July.

The quickest way to improve skill is to get more kids to wrestle and provide them with more opportunities to wrestle. Ybarra said he tries to keep the cost down because it gets expensive with the cost of motels and gasoline. Theclub has a fundraiser every year, Last year they raffled off a four wheeler. They also picked up trash and parked cars at the fair and created a float for the Oregon Trail Days parade.

The club will continuie the Deter Dynasty golf tournament at Oregon Trail Days as part of their fund raising, during which they plan to honor a team from every generation that coach Deter was here, to bring that team back and honor them.

Ybarra said he would like to thank all the coaches and all the parents because without them there would not be a club.

Visit the Gering Wrestling Club’s new website at www.geringwrestlingclub.com.

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