Pine River wrestlers brush up on skills during weekend summer camp

LEROY — It might be the dead of summer, but for Pine River wrestlers, it was time to work on their favorite winter sport.

Coach Tim Jones had a two-day camp at Pine River Friday and Saturday with several participants.

Roger Barnett, a Pine River sophomore, said his main intent was to wrestle with his teammates and get ready for the season.

Barnett wrestled as a freshman at 140 pounds and thought he made significant progress last season.

“I come to the practices here like two times a week,” he said. “They’re helpful.”

Barnett is also doing football and baseball, and participated in summer workouts for both sports.

Jacob Roberts is a Pine River junior, who advanced to the state finals last season before losing out in the first round. He was at 119 pounds last season and is looking to be at 125 this year. He’s had a light summer prior to the Pine River camp.

“Getting your hips on right and staying on top,” were some main pointers Roberts picked up at the Pine River camp. But he admitted the camp was helpful in not getting rusty prior to the start of the season.

He’s worked on baseball during the summer and is getting ready for football, which starts practices on Aug. 8.

Jones had brought Michigan State wrestlers, led by his son Luke, to lead the camp in past seasons.

“There’s about 20 wrestlers here,” Jones said on Friday. “They’re here today and tomorrow. We’ll do a short canoe trip down the Pine River as kind of a team building thing.

“A lot of these kids are playing football so we wrestle a couple of times a week. Before football starts (Aug. 8), we wanted to get one last week out of them, then they can get in the football or cross country mode.” 

Wrestling practice starts in November.

Jones was happy to have a connection with former wrestlers in Davenport to run the camp.

“However they want it run, that’s what we go with,” he said. “They reinforce some of the basic stuff and basic techniques, and pick up some small little things we can learn from the college kids.”

The camp was in the high school cafeteria, which also has served as the practice area for Pine River wrestling. But the millage election passed in May includes a new wrestling room adjacent to the cafeteria. Jones indicated the new room would be built and finished by 2018. 

The room will be larger than the cafeteria, Jones indicated.

“it will be the 100 percent designated wrestling room,” he said, adding that mats will permamently be on the floor of the room.

“It’s getting to be more and more that there are fewer schools that don’t have (a wresting room),” Jones said.