Area wrestlers hit the mat

Get instruction from former county greats


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Photos



  • At left is Princeton University head wrestling coach and former Newton High School wrestler Chris Ayres instructing wrestlers.




  • Newton High School wrestler Gus Protogeropoulos on top of former Newton High School wrestling standout Austin Alpaugh. Alpaugh was a guest instructor.




  • At left Princeton University Head wrestling coach Chris Ayres and Newton High School head wrestling coach Eric Bollette monitor the action on the mat.




  • Wrestlers watch as a grappling technique is shown.




  • Princeton University head wrestling coach and former Newton High School wrestler Chris Ayres picks up Newton High School wrestler Ryan Gigante during a demonstration.




  • Princeton University head wrestling coach and former Newton High School wrestler Chris Ayres instructing wrestlers.




  • Princeton University head wrestling coach and former Newton High School wrestler Chris Ayres instructing wrestlers.




  • Newton High School wrestler Koty Wilkinson wrestles a teammate. Wilkinson who will be a junior in September hopes to improve his skills. He made it to the District 3 tournament earlier this year where he lost in the first round.




  • Two aspiring wrestlers practice on the mat.



Wrestling Camp guests

The roster of guests included the following former Sussex County high school athletes:
Austin Aplaugh 2008 graduate of Newton High School where he compiled 128 wins (2 most in school history). Austin was a 2x district 3 champion, a region 1 champion, 3x state qualifier. NCAA Division 1 at Sacred Heart University.
Chris Ayres NJ STATE QUALIFIER (NEWTON HIGH SCHOOL), (NCAA DIVISION 1 ALL-AMERICAN (LEHIGH UNIVERSITY), Princeton University wrestling head coach.
David Zabriskie NJ STATE CHAMPION (HIGH POINT Regional High School), (NCAA DIVISION 1 NATIONAL CHAMPION (IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, 3X NCAA DIVISION 1 ALL-AMERICAN.
Theo Sibbles NJSIAA state finalist for (Newton High School), ( NCAA DIVISION 1 WRESTLER LOCK HAVEN UNIVERSITY), ASSISTANT COACH (NEWTON HIGH SCHOOL).
Chris Skretkowicz NJ STATE CHAMPION (WALLKILL VALLEY REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL), (NCAA 2X DIVISION 1 ALL-AMERICAN (HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY), HEAD WRESTLING COACH (VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE).
Will Livingston NJ STATE CHAMPION (KITTATINNY Regional High School), (NCAA 2x Division III All - American at (Centenary College).

BY GEORGE LEROY HUNTER
— Area wrestlers sharpened their skills while being taught by top New Jersey and national wrestling talent at the Newton Wrestling Camp which ran from July 14 to 18.

Aspiring wrestlers from grades four through 12 attended the camp. From 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the participating wrestlers were put through drills aimed at improving their wrestling skills.

All wrestling activity was overseen by Newton High School head wrestling coach Eric Bollette.

Each day saw a different guest instructor share their experiences as wrestlers. The journey they took to make it to the top varied but they all had a common goal, which was to be the best they could be.

Former Newton High School wrestler Chris Ayres who instructed the Friday session not only showed what he knows on the mat but also emphasized the importance of doing well in academics.

During a question and answer period Ayres said, "Most of you can definitely do better in school than you are doing. Sometimes when you are in the classroom you wish you were somewhere else. In life people are always wishing they were somewhere else. Some of you attending this camp wish you were somewhere else. It's a shame because with an attitude like that, before you know it you have missed out on life."

"Look, whether it is here at wrestling camp or in school you might as well make the most of it. By the way the people that have come here to teach you are some of the best wrestlers ever. Chris Skretkowicz who is maybe one of the best athletes ever in division 1 wrestling came here to teach you. Let that soak in. You should be telling yourself, 'I need to learn as much as possible.' On the wrestling side I look for athletes with a good work ethic. I've recruited athletes who were number one in the country but did not make it to division 1 wrestling. The reason being because they wish they were somewhere else or they wanted things to be easy," Ayres said.

Ayres told the campers that what will set them apart from the competition is their work ethic.

"While you are in school do the best you can and get all A's. The better you do in the classroom, will give you better and more opportunities in life. In my senior year in high school I did not win in a state title in my senior year. A lot of people told me I couldn't wrestle in division 1 in college because I didn't win a state title. They told me I wasn't good enough. But I was determined and kept at it and eventually made it to division 1 competition and I beat many opponents to achieve the title. Not winning a state title in high school and then competing and winning in division 1 in college is almost unheard of," he said. "So you never know when things are going to click for you. But in whatever you do, if you love it and keep on working hard at it good things will happen to you at the end of the day."

Newton High School head wrestling coach Eric Bollette said it was the second year the camp was held at the school.

"It gives the kids an opportunity to learn from some of Sussex County's best wrestlers who have competed at high levels," Bollette said. "It's good that some of the Newton High School alumni have returned to help out and teach here at the camp. Hopefully the up and coming wrestlers have learned quite a bit."

PHOTOS BY GEORGE LEORY HUNTER

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