“The opportunity came up. Travis (Linsacum, Tanner’s cousin) mentioned his cousin was in town and when that kind of opportunity and somebody like that is willing to help, you’ve got to do it. I mean, what an opportunity.”
—Chad Lawton, Moffat County Youth Wrestling team founder, about taking advantage of having Tanner Linsacum in town to teach a wrestling camp.
The push to bring wrestling back to prominence in Moffat County is in full force, and has included help from top talent.
Earlier in the summer, Joe LeBlanc, an All-American wrestler from the University of Wyoming, instructed young grapplers from around the area at Hayden High School.
On Saturday, another All-American wrestler was showing Moffat County wrestlers how things are done on the mat.
Tanner Linsacum, a two-time All-American and national champion wrestler during his career at the University of Northern Colorado, came to Moffat County High School to lead the Moffat County Youth Wrestling Camp.
The camp was organized by Moffat County Youth Wrestling Team founder Chad Lawton, who said it was a chance for the team and coaches to learn.
“The opportunity came up,” Lawton said. “Travis (Linsacum, Tanner’s cousin) mentioned his cousin was in town and when that kind of opportunity and somebody like that is willing to help, you’ve got to do it. I mean, what an opportunity.”
The camp helped first- through sixth-grade wrestlers from 9 a.m. to noon and seventh- through 12th-graders from 1 to 4 p.m. in the MCHS gym.
It served as a bridge between seasons for the youth wrestling team.
“A lot of our coaches were talking about doing something over the summer to help the kids refresh some stuff,” Lawton said. “They’ve had a break (since the season ended) and we wanted to do this to keep the idea of wrestling going.”
2012 was the first year for the youth wrestling team, which Lawton and Mark Zimmerman started to give young wrestlers an opportunity other than the Bad Dogs youth wrestling team.
They had an excellent level of participation on the team in year one, with 78 children signing up.
The strong response continued with camp Saturday. More than 40 wrestlers attended the first session.
“It’s awesome to have this many kids show up on short notice,” Lawton said. “We’ve got our club, all our coaches here, which is great. It was a great turnout.”
Linsacum said the camp focused on teaching fundamentals to campers.
“We were going from every position — on your feet, from bottom and top,” he said. “I wanted to give them something from every position to work on. That was the main goal.”
Linsacum said the camp was a success. “You try to work in some games, some stuff that’s fun for them and then try to get them to focus a little bit at a time,” he said. “You make it work that way. It’s hard for any kid to have that attention span. But, they did a really good job. A lot of them picked up quite a bit.”
With Linsacum’s instruction to carry them over, Lawton believes the youth wrestlers and coaches will be able to take a big step forward next season.
“Any time you can have a national champion want to come out and take time, that’s awesome,” he said. “Even our coaches, we can all learn from watching him. "You can always learn from that kind of quality.”
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