Taking things to the mat, several local wrestlers, aging from high school to youth wrestlers, are aiming to increase their skills by taking part in a three-day camp at Old West Middle School in Tullahoma this week.
The clinic is held by Josh Bosken, who runs the Higher Calling Wrestling Club of Cleveland, one of the largest youth wrestling clubs not just in Tennessee, but in the south. The three-day camp opened on Monday and concludes on Wednesday.
Bosken wrestled at Science Hill and won the state championship in the 130-pound division in 2003. Since then, Bosken has had plenty of success coaching on the mat. Right now, Cleveland is on its way to becoming a powerhouse for wrestling in the state, and he said that it all stems from having a solid youth program.
“When I moved there [to Cleveland], Bradley Central was the powerhouse, I started asking ‘how are they doing this?’ They were doing it by their feeder programs,” Bosken said. “Those kids were rolling around on the mats since they were 4 and 5 years old. A lot of small towns are football centered. Cleveland, and in Bradley, they wrestle. So, we’ve really put an emphasis on growing our youth programs.”
Since Bosken has taken over in Cleveland, there has been a boom of success on the mats, not at the high school level. In fact, as THS Head Boys Coach Al Morris pointed out, there’s a new culture of winning in Cleveland.
“Last year, Cleveland, their kids club, middle school and high school pulled the trifecta and won the state championship at every level,” Morris said. “They are obviously doing something right. We are trying to get on board and play the copycat game, I guess you would say.”
The three-day camp at Old West Middle School is the first of two camps that Bosken will take part in down in Tullahoma. Bosken will return to Tullahoma on July 1-3 for another camp. Both clinics will be focusing on different aspects of the sport.
“There are three positions in wrestling, on our feet, top and bottom,” Bosken said. “This week is solely focused on top wrestling. So breakdowns, mat returns and various amounts of returns. The second camp will be all on our feet.”
Nearly 20 Tullahoma wrestlers came out to take part in the wrestling during the first day of the camp on Monday. Morris said he appreciated the high school wrestlers taking part in the volunteer clinic.
“It’s of benefit to our kids not only for the technique, but the experience,” Morris said. “The guys who are getting here are definitely getting better. It’s an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get to have, without having to travel and pay big money for. This was a very reasonable camp.”
According to Bosken, he loves traveling and putting on the clinics. According to him, he goal is to continue to pay things forward, aiding anyway that he can in the sports of wrestling.
“The community in Cleveland is obsessed. They are obsessed with the wrestling culture, they are obsessed with winning,” Bosken said. “The expectations are very, very high. We are very blessed with our resources.
“This is an opportunity for our kids and myself to give back and kind of spread the knowledge,” he added. “This is for kids who want to be involved and get extra training, giving them the opportunity to do so. It’s good for our kids to get the extra training and for me to spread the knowledge a little bit.”