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Imperial Junior Wrestling Association trains grapplers

January 21, 2002|By TIM YANNI

Special to this newspaper

IMPERIAL — Young wrestlers in the Imperial Valley have a way to keep in shape, work on skills and develop experience.

This philosophy is a reason the San Diego Imperial Kids Wrestling Association, or SDIKWA, has weekly tournaments from December through March for youths ages 4 to 15.

"It prepares them for high school, college and hopefully the Olympic wrestling team," said Darr Wilson, assistant coach of the Imperial Junior Wrestling Association.


"It's a tough sport and experience helps when you're by yourself on the mat," he said, adding that competing in tournaments at a young age can help a wrestler with experience and knowledge in the sport.

SDIKWA is affiliated with USA wrestling, which prepares the U.S. Olympic team, and the area group has seen participants compete in regional, state and national competitions, Wilson said.

He added it is advantageous for wrestlers to compete against others of the same age and weight class, which SDIKWA does with several divisions and sub-divisions.

Wilson said SDIKWA has about 300 wrestlers in Imperial and San Diego counties, which gives the wrestlers a wide variety of competition.

He added wrestlers who begin the program at a young age and stick with it are much more prepared in high school than those who did not take advantage of the program early on.

"It makes a big difference," Wilson said. "Those who stay in do well when they go on."

He added the SDIKWA tournaments would not be possible without all those who help in staging the tourneys.

"Parents and volunteers help out and we have many sponsors who contribute to our club," he said.

Brandon Granahan, a 13-year-old wrestler on the El Centro team, has been a SDIKWA wrestler for two years.

"It's good," Brandon said. "It helps you if you want to lose weight."

He said competing in SDIKWA tournaments has allowed him to learn and exercise moves that can help defeat an opponent.

Brandon, who would like to wrestle for Southwest High next year when he starts there as a freshman, said he began wrestling out of curiosity.

"I like to try different sports," Brandon said. "My dad was really good at (wrestling).

"Tournaments are really good because you get to see what you can do and you see what you need to learn for the next ones," Brandon said.

He added his experience from SDIKWA might give him the advantage he needs to compete on the junior varsity level as a freshman when he starts at Southwest.

Rusty Garcia, 11, and Ivan Robles, 10, compete on the Brawley team.

"It helps me keep in shape," said Rusty, who has wrestled with SDIKWA for four years.

"I'll probably keep doing it," he added, saying he would like to wrestle for Brawley Union High.

Ivan, who has been with the program for two years, said getting in shape is one of his favorite aspects of wrestling. He said he doesn't get as much practice as others because of the small number of wrestlers in his age group and weight class, but he still enjoys the competition.

He added he also would like to wrestle when he attends Brawley High a few years down the line.

SDIKWA, which has tournaments throughout the Imperial and San Diego counties, will have a tournament in Brawley next Sunday.

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