This past week, Foxcroft Academy teacher and wrestling coach, Luis Ayala, hosted an Olympic Wrestling Camp for athletes around Maine. Thanks to Foxcroft Academy graciously opening its dorms for the wrestling camp, athletes from other towns were able to attend, such as Dexter, Camden, Bucksport, and more. Over 60 students–middle school and high school–from different areas stayed overnight, while the remaining were local FA students. With over 70 wrestlers attending, this year was one of the largest ever. “We do it for our local kids,” said Ayala, “we try to make it affordable so that they can continue to get better over the summer.”
Ayala, who has coached the FA Wrestling team to 6 Team State Championships and numerous Individual State Championships, directed the camp with the help of several FA alumni wrestlers. Brooks Law, Sawyer Mccardy, Josh Tatlock, and Tino Ayala assisted Coach Ayala over the week, as well as a few others.
Each day, the campers began at 8 am with mile run races to warm up for the rest of the day’s activities. After this, Ayala and the assistant coaches began working with the campers on fundamental skills and moves. Then they transitioned into live wrestling skills where they worked on the techniques and moves they learned prior.
At noon, the wrestlers would take an hour break for lunch. Then they would hit the gym again to work on additional moves and skills. To close off the day, the group ended with competitions, live matches, and other fun activities. Sometimes the group would play dodgeball, or other times they would have wrestling competitions with several competing teams.
In addition to learning from successful FA alumni, the campers also had the opportunity to acquire some techniques and skills from college athletes as well. National Champ Danny Buteau and Eddie Deroche attended the camp over the past week to help teach the young wrestlers some essential tips and tricks. Both athletes attend Husson University but train and compete with UMO’s Wrestling team.
In inviting the local college students to the camp, Ayala hoped to inspire his young athletes and show them that a wrestling career past high school was possible. By making a connection with Buteau and Deroche, two young college wrestlers from Maine, the young campers can see that they have the same opportunities in their future–as long as they work hard.
Along with their training and activities, the campers had some time to relax and bond with other campers off the mats. The camp provided a cookout and paintball session towards the end of the week, which seemed to be a hit with the campers.
Overall, the wrestlers had fun learning more about the sport, as well as getting to know new people who share their love for wrestling. “We are very lucky to have the facility here at FA,” said Coach Ayala, “it was a great week.”
For more pictures of the event, visit our Flickr page.