As any coach will tell you, the key to a strong high school wrestling program resides at the youth level, where young, budding athletes learn the basics and fundamentals of the sport.
That’s the idea this year for Analy High School wrestling coach Francisco Manriquez, who is starting up the fledgling West County Youth Wrestling Club for elementary school-aged kids.
“Right now we have about 15 kids involved, and we would like to grow it to over 30,” Manriquez reported. “What it means for the kids going into junior high is that we provide opportunities and exposure to the sport of wrestling. We want them to have a positive experience so that they will join wrestling at their schools.”
The club will compete in three tournaments this spring, including Healdsburg, Maria Carrillo and Sir Francis Drake, with official practices beginning on March 4.
Manriquez is working with Brooke Haven Middle School to start a wrestling program there.
“Currently, no middle schools offer wrestling in the west county area,” Manriquez noted. “These kids need wrestling in their middle schools so that they can come into the high school level with some experience.”
The local club hopes to follow the success of areas such as Cloverdale, which recently started up wrestling programs at the youth, middle school and high school levels. The El Molino Wildcats Wrestling Club has been competing in area tournaments for the past several years.
Any kids interested in joining the West County Youth Wrestling Club can contact Manriquez by email: email@example.com.