First-year Mingus Union coach Kirk Waddle has a hunger to impart his wrestling knowledge to the athletes on his team. The team is complete now that the football players have joined since their season ended two weeks ago.
Action in the wrestling room has been hot and heavy for the last three weeks as mat battles have taken place. There is a mixture of talents from the novice to the veteran.
“Winning isn’t everything,” said coach Waddle. “We are here to instruct; we have a wide range of wrestlers in here from beginners to one of the wrestlers who placed in state.”
Helping to coach is four former state champions to lend their expertise and continue their tradition. The intensity is palpable in the wrestling room as sweat pours off every wrestling trying a new move.
The Marauders’ don’t have every weight class covered, so it will be hard for them to win as a team. Coach Waddle expects growth in each wrestler. Waddle came back to keep the program alive, and he has always wanted to be the head coach for Mingus wrestling. This season has been one of back to basics for Waddle, a former freestyle champion wrestler. He wrestled at Mingus and in college before becoming a school administrator.
Waddle has had his wrestlers out on the track for conditioning as well as more mat time. He believes his wrestlers should be in good condition, and he has set up a demanding combination of sprinting and distance running totaling two miles to help them when his wrestlers enter the last round of a match. He is putting his wrestlers through a grueling training camp with repetition of the fundamental wrestling, and that his wrestlers getting school in advanced techniques.
“My goal is to set the ground work for a really strong program,” Waddle said. “I’m absolutely certain we have done that already. I would like to get more students to come out. We have already had a couple of athletes add late.”
If anyone wants to come out for the wrestling team, it is not too late. The wrestling team does not cut anyone who wishes to participate.
Coach Waddle thinks that being a wrestler is harder than any other athletic endeavor. A wrestler must have a combination of many skills, and the hardest part of being a wrestler is they must have the endurance of a cross-country runner, the explosiveness of a sprinter, and strength like a gymnast. Whereas a football player builds up bulk to withstand the pounding of being hit, a wrestler must slim down, yet stay physical.
The Marauders’ first competition will be on Nov. 26 at Emory Riddle. It is the Yavapai County duels. Camp Verde will be competing at this tournament as well some of the bigger wrestling schools.
“This event will give us an idea of how much work we need to do,” Waddle said.