YORK, Pa. – Wrestling stars of the past, present, and future converged on York College this week as the Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center played host to the 2011 Keystone Wrestling Camp.
"This is an outstanding camp for everyone involved," York College head coach Tom Kessler said. "We love having the opportunity to host this camp and help these young wrestlers improve."
Highlighting this year's camp, former NCAA Division I standouts Cael Sanderson and Kerry McCoy visited during Tuesday's session as guest instructors. These two Herculeans are nothing short of brilliant on the mat, as each won National Championships during their collegiate days and are now head coaches at major Division I programs.
"What a great experience for these kids to have Cael and Kerry come to teach," Kessler said. "To be honest with you, it is certainly a thrill for me and our York College wrestlers here at the camp. These two are simply outstanding and to learn from them is a privilege."
Sanderson sports quite a resume, as he is the only wrestler in NCAA Division I history to go undefeated throughout his career. The former Iowa State Cyclone went 159-0 during his four seasons, won four national titles, and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Championships an unprecedented four times. Following his nearly unbelievable collegiate career, Sanderson went on to win Olympic Gold at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Recently, Sanderson won 84 kg title at the World Team Trials and will represent the U.S. at the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
Just as remarkable however, is Sanderson's ability to relate his knowledge as a head coach. During his three years at the helm of the Iowa State program, the Cyclones won three Big 12 Conference team championships and crowned two individual NCAA Champions while Sanderson was named the 2007 National Coach of the Year in just his first campaign. Over those three seasons, 30 wrestlers qualified for Nationals as he took each of the ten weight classes to the National Tournament each season. Taking over at Penn State this past season, Sanderson led the Nittany Lions to the NCAA team championship, their first in 58 years, while adding yet another individual National Champion – Quentin Wright at 184 pounds.
"What an incredible career Cael has had," Kessler said. "It truly is amazing what he has accomplished. Once again, simply to be able to learn from him is a great opportunity."
McCoy, the head coach at the University of Maryland, brings his own wealth of experience to the Keystone Camp. A Penn State alum, McCoy won a pair of individual NCAA Division I National Championships and finished his career with an outstanding 150-18 record, a mark which included just one loss over his final 132 matches. After college, he represented the United States at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games while also garnering a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships.
As a coach, McCoy has truly turned his own success on the mat into success for his pupils. Prior to Maryland, McCoy served as the head coach at Stanford where he transformed the Cardinal program into a top-20 squad. During McCoy's time with Maryland, the Terrapins have won two Atlantic Coast Conference Championships while he also guided the Terps to a school record 19-4 mark in 2009-10. This past season, McCoy's squad placed 18th overall at the NCAA National Championships while three student-athletes garnered All-American honors. In addition to his collegiate coaching, McCoy served as a coach with the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
"Kerry is a fantastic teacher," Kessler said. "His work with the wrestlers is simply outstanding. He is another who it is great to learn from, to draw even little pieces of wrestling knowledge."
The Keystone Camp is a four-day wrestling camp, running Sunday through Wednesday with three sessions each day, with wrestlers ranging from eight years old to high school seniors. In addition to learning technique, a special emphasis is placed on competition as each wrestler is guaranteed 10-15 matches during the camp.
"John Fritz has been the director of this camp for quite some time now and he does a tremendous job," Kessler said. "He came here about 13 years ago, well before we had the Grumbacher Center, and wanted to have the Keystone Camp here at York College. He liked the campus and was very impressed with the cleanliness of everything. Now with the relatively recent move to the Grumbacher, it has made the camp that much better."
Kessler believes this year's camp proved a high quality experience for those in attendance.
"From the teachers, to the facilities, to the competition, this has been a great year for the Keystone Camp," Kessler said. "I believe each student-athlete left with something positive they can use in their own wrestling careers. We relish the opportunity to be hosts for this outstanding event and hope to be able to do so for years to come."
(Information on Cael Sanderson and Kerry McCoy courtesy of the athletic communications offices at Penn State University and the University of Maryland.)