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Local option for wrestlers
KINGSTON — Setting up and breaking down wrestling mats was a daunting task for the coaches of the Kingston Outlaws wrestling club. Borrowing space at local schools was limiting and, while it was appreciated, did not reflect what the Outlaws program was about.
That’s changing, however, as the Kingston Outlaws and other local wrestling programs celebrate their own year-round academy.
“Having your own room, let alone an academy, brings your wrestling to the next tier,” Outlaws coach Joe Haselberger said on the bottom floor of the new academy.
The Kingston Wrestling Academy, 5654 NE Minder Road in the Kennedy Business Park, held its grand opening July 6.
The academy will be the home of the Kingston Outlaws and will offer Les Mills BODYCOMBAT. Other wrestling clubs, such as Big Dawgs, will be able to hold practices there as well.
The facility has two levels, which allows multiple classes and/or skill levels to train at once.
Greco-Roman, freestyle and folkstyle (collegiate) wrestling will be offered at different times throughout the year.
As a year-round facility, the academy will offer wrestlers with more opportunity to practice.
“There are not a lot of wrestling academies running in the off-season,” Reece said. “The best wrestlers in the state and the country are training year-round.”
Though the academy may look Kingston-oriented, the academy is open to all wrestlers. The Outlaws program, for example, has wrestlers from Bainbridge Island and North Mason, among other areas.
Ultimately, Haselberger’s dream is keeping wrestlers in Washington. He doesn’t want to see high school wrestlers, such as Jordan Rogers from Mead High School, seek opportunities out of state. Rogers, a three-time state champion, signed to Oklahoma State.
Reece has wanted to run an academy before he began coaching in public schools. As the head coach of the Kingston High School wrestling program, working at the schools has created opportunities. Those wrestlers from KHS, at least those dedicated enough, will be seen wrestling at the academy in the off-season.
The academy is family run and owned. Along with Haselberger and Reece as coaches, DeAnna Reece and Misty Haselberger are fully involved as well. The two helped kick off the grand opening of the academy with a BODYCOMBAT demonstration; DeAnna is the instructor.
While it’s a good start, Reece said there is the possibility of expansion within the Kennedy Business Park. In the future, he said they may be able to hold tournaments, at least for younger wrestlers.