DERBY–Some athletes slow up their pace in the off-season. Some join travel teams and play sporadically, maybe twice a month with a few practices thrown in to keep the players sharp.
Members of the North Country Wrestling Club (North Country Wrestling Team during the season, as the club got back its' varsity status last season) prefer to take a different approach.
Instead of less, they prefer more.
As in five days a week, and we are more than three months away from wrestling season and over a month away from the next tournament on the schedule.
Wrestlers, ranging in numbers from an average of five to ten a day, are gathering four times a week at IROC (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) and once at the Community Center in Coventry (Wednesday) to get in shape for both the upcoming season and a tournament to be held at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA on September 22nd.
"Basically we are practicing for the tournaments we have during the summer," said Trevor Roberts, one of the leaders of the group.
"These practices are going to have a huge impact on the season because we have had a lot of people coming in so far. It will help going into the season because they will already know the moves, which will help us at our tournaments."
Roberts has had success at what he calls the "Stick" (STCC) tournament, but knows he can not rest on his laurels.
"Last time I went there I won the tournament, but you know that can change... that can change," he said with a chuckle.
While already drawing in some familiar friends and teammates, Roberts hoped the sessions would attract new faces to the sport, and so far he has been pleased with the response.
"It is going good. We've got a lot of new people (here) and they know a lot of moves already, and they are getting the hang of it quicker than we thought, so I am really excited about next year."
One person who is not a new face to the program is Mackenzie Steele, a Lake Region student who trains with North Country, but wrestles independently for the Rangers.
Steele is a long time veteran of the sport, having competed all over the state and the country, and is the only member of the crew to have wrestled competitively this summer.
"I went to a tournament this past Sunday at Springfield Tech and I had seven matches and came back with a bronze medal and came here (to practice) and showed these guys some new stuff."
Along with Roberts, Steele will be relied upon for a veteran presence with the club.
"This year Trevor and I are going to be leading the team and there is a pretty positive attitude about a girl from another school helping to lead the team."
The training sessions are open to anyone interested in wrestling, and take place from 6- 7:30 PM, free of charge, on the days and locations mentioned above.
Said Steele of people coming out and giving the sport a shot, "Come out and try it, it's fun. We play a lot of games and the boys and the girls just eat it up."
You can call IROC or the Coventry Community Center to confirm times, and you can go up to Roberts or Steele and they would be more than happy to talk about the sport with you