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High school wrestlers share techniques at Hall County wrestling clinic
0620Wrestling 1
East Hall’s Tyler Thomas, left foreground, Gainesville’s Kash Jones and other area high school wrestlers run through a move Wednesday at Flowery Branch High School. Jones plans to wrestle in the 220- or 285-pound class in the fall, Thomas at 170. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Creating a free summer workshop for wrestlers in Hall County was a ‘no-brainer’, says Flowery Branch coach Shane Millwood.

The Hall County Wrestling Coalition, now in its second year, is a free, three-day clinic for wrestlers from most county programs and Gainesville High and provides varied instruction from many local coaches.The ultimate goal, along with improving technique and introducing new moves, is to promote the growth of wrestling in the region and inform wrestlers about the history of the sport in the county.

“We’re hoping that it will help grow the sport and bring the local schools closer together, even though they’re competitive during the year,” Millwood said. “The kids here are kids that want to excel.”

Over the three days, each of the local coaches in attendance gets a chance to teach the wrestlers from his specific skill set.

“The instruction is very good,” said North Hall coach Jay Hargis. “Different coaches bring different twists.”

Hargis showed the group examples of and modifications to the Peterson Roll, a wrestling move that has changed and developed since the 1970s. Flowery Branch assistant Shane Lancaster worked with the attendees on ankle posts and ways to slide out with a trapped ankle when on the bottom, and Gainesville coach Nick Niesielowski shared tips on power positions and ways to regain control from the bottom.

“Every coach has something they’re really good at, so we let those guys focus on that,” Millwood added. “There’s so much knowledge between the coaches, we figured why not share it around.”

In addition to a variety of coaching styles, the wrestlers also get the chance to wrestle opponents that may not be their teammates.

“They get live time with each other’s guys, which is really helpful,” Hargis said.

Millwood mentioned that another goal for the clinic is to break the mindset of not showing your hand before the season that local teams may have about keeping their talent under wraps. The coaches at the clinic hope that as the program progresses, more teams will become involved.

East Hall, Johnson, North Hall, Gainesville and Flowery Branch all had wrestlers or coaches involved in the coalition this week.

“Everyone was here last year,” Hargis said. “Guys will have to start doing a better job of pushing their teammates to come.”

For the future, the plan is to continue the clinic early every summer at Flowery Branch High as a resource for local teams.

“It’s hard if all the teams can’t be here, but we try to put it on at the best time for most schools to be involved because some have football in the morning or evening,” Millwood said. “We could continue to host it because we have the amenities, but if another coach wanted to, he certainly could.”

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