Women Dominate Final Day of Wrestling Camp

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IMPERIAL – Ricochet Rec Center and Imperial High’s Wrestling team partnered to launch their first “Season Kick-off Wrestling Camp,” November 24-26. Several well-achieved clinicians were featured, and brought different styles and techniques to the three-day camp.

The idea behind the camp was to raise awareness for the wrestling opportunities in the valley. Ricochet staff member Marc Carreon said that they were hoping the camp would gain the attention of youths around the valley who are interesting in wrestling.

When Imperial Wrestling coach Mark Benedict received the idea for the camp, he was more than willing to be a part of it.

“Marc [Carreon] approached me on the idea and I was actually pretty enthused about it,” said Benedict. “When we collaborated, we went back and forth a bit on what our main purpose would be. We finally agreed that, as long as the kids got some good-quality teaching, that was all that mattered.”

While the camp was open to both boys and girls of all ages, it was the girls who ruled the mat on the final day of the camp. Clinicians of the day were Imperial native, Priscilla Caldera, and fellow wrestler, Kendra Lewis. Both girls were All-American Wrestlers at Lindenwood University, with Lewis having also wrestled in the Olympic and World Trials. Caldera was the first girl to win the Boy’s CIF Sectionals, a four-time placer in CIF, and took second in Nationals, all while at Imperial High.

The women agreed that any girls who were thinking about wrestling shouldn’t hesitate to follow their dreams. Caldera said, “It’s definitely a growing sport. So for any girls out there, if you even have the slightest interest, try it and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But it’s definitely something that’s around, and I want girls to realize that.”

Lewis added, “What I like about wrestling is that it’s open to all shapes, all sizes, all athletic types. Strength, agility, whatever you have and bring to the table, you can work with it in wrestling. It’s you and your body and how you decide to use it and formulate it. If you commit any type of time and effort into it, there are no limitations to wrestling. As long as you have that drive, you can go as far as you’d like to go.”

Ricochet and Imperial Wrestling plan to continue collaborating on camps similar to this in the future hoping to raise money and awareness, along with teaching, and inspiring boys and girls of all ages.

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