Summer means youth sports camps. And at Olivet College, boys and girls of all ages have the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities in a variety of sports. OC’s popular wrestling camp in particular is more than a few days of training; it has grown into an annual tradition for aspiring wrestlers who love going to the mat to develop skills and maneuvers that will take them to the next level of competition.
This summer’s wrestling camp hosted nearly 120 wrestlers, the second highest number of young athletes ever to participate. Current Olivet College coaches and players as well as alumni, World Team members and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champions came together on Olivet’s campus with one common goal: to inspire the next generation of college wrestlers. By the end of camp, wrestlers had a greater understanding and appreciation for the sport and learned what it takes to succeed. For Olivet College Head Wrestling Coach Brandon Brissette, who has more than 10 years of college coaching experience and was a decorated college wrestler himself, the camp couldn’t be closer to his heart.
“I love our camps because we get to build relationships with local coaches and athletes from around the state,” Coach Brissette explained. “We bring high-class clinicians from other programs and athletes are able to hone skills from them. Also, we are able to showcase the things that we do well in our program through our staff and wrestlers. However, the best thing is being able to strengthen and give back to the wrestling community. In turn, others are supportive of our camps and what we do in our program and at Olivet.”
The camp also gave current Olivet College athletes an opportunity to reflect on their success and play a role in mentoring and shaping the future of aspiring college wrestlers, just as others did for them in their youth.
Senior Jared Brickley said he has always had an insatiable hunger for wrestling, and especially improving in his sport. Finding young athletes who remind Jared of himself is one reason why his passion for wrestling is so strong. “Volunteering at youth camps and tournaments is just plain fun, but also very rewarding,” Jared said. “The chance to interact with kids and watch matches of the next up-and-coming wrestlers who will make an impact in our sport is awesome. I love working with the ones who dedicate part of their summer to becoming a better wrestler because that’s how you can tell these particular kids are serious athletes. Those who are wrestling in the summer are the ones that are champions in the winter.”
Cornell University’s two-time NCAA Champion Gabe Dean, University of Michigan NCAA All-American Alec Pantaleo, and Iowa State University standout Kanen Storr each dedicated a day to the camp as a guest clinician. The three men shared inside tips on their success, taught specialty maneuvers and techniques, and performed wrestling demonstrations.
“Coach Brissette and I are beyond thankful for those who contribute to make our camp a huge success each year,” said Olivet College Assistant Wrestling Coach Adam Wilson. “From our outstanding group of guest clinicians, to our faithful alumni base, we would not be able to have such a successful camp series without these individuals. Past and current Comet wrestlers who volunteer their time to come back to campus and work with our campers make our camp special.”
If you are interested in joining the Olivet College wrestling team – and family – contact Coach Brissette at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269.749.7671. Register for upcoming camps today, and check out the OC Wrestling Prospect Camp coming July 31 – Aug. 1.