Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
TACOMA, Wash. – The All-Navy Wrestling team facilitated a wresting clinic, kicking off the start of their annual camp, at Washington High School, Jan. 31.
The clinic was organized and hosted by Jason Wiklund, Washington High School head wrestling coach.
“The time that the Navy team spent with our wrestlers provided not only great learning on the mat, but an opportunity for our kids to see what life after high school can potentially have in store,” said Wiklund.
“The Navy team showed great care, leadership, and interest in our wrestlers. That’s what it’s all about.”
The clinic started with Sailors mixing in with students during warm-ups with calisthenics and stretches. Each Sailor paired off with a teenage wrestler from the school, drilling and practicing moves before live wrestling and mentoring throughout the experience.
“I always think it’s a great opportunity to help and teach young kids and high schoolers [new techniques] while I am still learning [to this] day,” said Airman Apprentice Zach Singer, a Gardnerville, Nevada, native stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). “When I was in high school, I attended a few wrestling camps and I looked up to a lot of the college wrestlers that were instructing at the camp, and I think it’s humbling to impact young people in the same way.”
Some Sailors were flown from around the world into camp and hand selected by All-Navy Sports and the head coach of the team, while the rest of the Sailors are stationed locally, together totaling more than 20 Sailors.
Local wrestlers were able to attend open practices throughout the year held by Head Coach Chief Navy Diver Ale Delapeña, a Benton City, Washington, native stationed with Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport Dive Locker.
“The number one thing you have to do is you have to believe in yourself,” said Delapena, closing the clinic with a speech on the mental aspect of wrestling. “If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t be that regional, district or state champion. Do not set your limits, those will be your mental blocks.
“Have passion and desire,” continued Delapena. “Those will be your drive, that will that will keep you driving. It doesn’t matter who your opponent is, even when you’re down and tired, you have to feel it and want it deep down in your heart to achieve greatness.”