*This story first appeared in The Budget’s March 14, 2018, Local Edition.
By Beverly Keller
When it comes to wrestling, starting them young is just how the blossoming Biddy Wrestling Program is part of the plan.
“Wrestling can teach kid about dealing with all kinds of adversity,” Coach Ryan Tetreault shared. “You don’t have to be six-foot tall. It is completely fair as you wrestle someone who is your size and usually your age. It is one on one.”
The season started with approximately 54 kids in the program from preschool through Grade 6 which was a welcome sight for six-year coach Toby Hershberger. “It has just exploded the last two to three years,” he explained. “We used to average 30 kids, maybe. We ended the season with 48 kids.”
Hershberger noted that he enjoys the sport. “I was on the first wrestling team Garaway ever had,” he said with a grin. “Now, as a parent with two kids in the program, being with these kids and teaching them the basics is exciting. I’m the goof-around coach. I like to have fun.”
For Hershberger, seeing kids who started in the program excelling at the next level is rewarding as well. “Seeing a kid like Kory Stress at the high school level and knowing he started here is a big deal,” he shared. “Knowing we are training a good group to join the strong eighth graders is also exciting.”
“Wrestling is very much an individual sport,” Tetreault said. “If you come off the mat and didn’t like the way something went, you have the power to change that, not anyone else.”
He noted that he, too, was a wrestler in high school. “My son wanted to get involved, and they needed dads to help, and here I am,” Tetreault added.
When asked about the season, both Tetreault and Hershberger said it was incredible. “Our kids competed above our expectations,” Tetreault added. “It was a really, really good season.”
Tetreault praised the work of Lucas Maurer, a 2017 Garaway graduate who joined the program as a coach, and former high school head coach Sedric Gerber as well as Hershberger for their help this year. “We try to divide up as much as possible and delegate,” he explained. “The parents were also great. Without good parents, this program would not be possible. And my wife, she was a huge support all season long.”
To wrap up the season, a pizza and swimming party was held at the YMCA recently. Parents and wrestlers alike enjoyed a night of fun and food. Awards were also given, as follows:
- Rookie of the Year – Drake Domer
- Most Pins – Kaden Stein and Parker Miller
- Most Improved – Cole Hershberger
- Hardest Worker – Gabe Schatzel
- Renaissance Man – Jackson Gerber
- Most Improved – Jonathan Domer
- Renaissance Man – Lucas Miller
- Rookie of the Year – Thomas Grimm
- Hardest Worker – Dillon King
- King of the Mat – Wyatt Hershberger
Sixth-grade students graduating from the program were given duffel bags with their names on them. Graduates included: Ethan Kimble, Wyatt Hershberger, Jonathan Domer, Caiden Ballentine and Hunter Csonka.