On Saturday, June 24, the Wellington High School wrestling program hosted a summer tournament that drew competitors from locations as far as Miami and Georgia. Approximately 270 grapplers went head-to-head in the Wellington High School gymnasium on four different mats.
Wrestling divisions were coordinated by age and weight, as young as 7, up to high school. Each mat had its own bracket, where wrestlers would compete through matches in three different styles: Greco-Roman, freestyle and folk.
According to Wellington wrestling head coach Travis Gray, the tournament far exceeded his expectations.
“There’s not a lot of wrestling, youth wrestling especially, in Palm Beach County,” he explained. “We try to always offer a place for kids to get matches from around the state and other areas, and we have double here, if not more, than we’ve ever had.”
Gray said that they typically conduct tournaments during the summer, and they have a credo they live by: “Summer training equals winter champions.”
One of the goals is to provide the grapplers sufficient mat time, because South Florida does not offer middle school sanctioned wrestling, and when kids transition into high school, they are often behind those who participated in club and middle school wrestling programs.
Gray also heads up Wellington’s club wrestling program, which offers kids interested in the sport mat time through their youth. This would explain Wellington’s success on the mat at the high school level. The Wolverines have won four straight district titles.
In 2015, they made school history, sending eight grapplers to the state tournament. In 2016, they topped that number and sent nine.
“Some of our kids, we don’t see during the summer, and some would wrestle 12 months out of the year if they could,” he said. “We just give them opportunities to keep it going.”
Wellington’s club team took first overall in the youth division.
In the folk style division kids 48-pound class, Anthony Gray placed third. In the 67-pound class, Tyler Gray placed first and Nikolas Gray took second. In the 70-pound class, Cameron Gibson placed second. In the 82-pound class, Sam Marvel placed second. In the 105-pound class, James Marvel placed first. Wellington swept the 117-pound class with Joseph Nicolosi in first place, James Marvel in second and Anthony Nicolosi in third. In the 132-pound class, Aaron Sandlofer placed third.
In the freestyle division 60-pound class, Aiden Sandlofer placed third. In the 120-pound class, Joseph Nicolosi placed second. In the Greco style 124-pound division, Joseph Nicolosi placed second and Anthony Nicolosi took third.
In the high school division team results, Wellington placed second, behind Camden, Ga. In the folk style division 145-pound class, Jared Abramson took first place. In the 170-pound class, John Barry placed first and Chris Conlin took third. In the 220-pound class, Mason Powell placed third. In the women’s folk style division, Wellington’s Hosanna Kropp placed first.
In the freestyle division 132-pound class, Hosanna Kropp took second place. In the 152-pound class, Jared Abramson placed third.
Wellington will be hosting a second summer tournament on July 22. For more information, visit www.wellingtonwolverines.vnsports.com.