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Gopher infusion

By Staff | Jun 28, 2013

University of Minnesota assistant wrestling coach Kevin LeValley demonstrates a move on one of the campers at the S.W.A.T. Wrestling Camp at the Rugby Armory on Monday.

Around 130 area wrestlers got some instruction at the highest level this week at the S.W.A.T. wrestling camp, with a number of coaches and wrestlers from the University of Minnesota providing instruction.

The Gophers, who finished third this year in the NCAA National Tournament, are a perennial powerhouse.

Over the nearly three days of the camp, Craig Zachmeier, who helped organize the second annual camp, imported a number of Minnesota coaches and wrestlers.

Included in the group are Brandon Eggum and Luke Becker, the program’s top two assistants.

Kevin LeValley, a coach who is also on the Olympic ladder himself, said the trip was well worth it.

“I’ve known Craig Zachmeier for quite awhile,” LeValley said. “He’s worked J Robinson’s camps with me. He called me up and asked me if I’d be willing to put together a crew of guys to come up and work his camp. Any time you can go teach wrestling is a good day for me. It’s a bit of a hike but at the same time, they treat us pretty good when we’re up here.”

The group also included brothers Nick and Chris Dardanes and West Fargo native Scott Schiller, all of whom are current wrestlers for the Gophers.

Much of Monday’s day at the camp was devoted to technique.

“We got into town about 8:30 this morning and ran a session from 9 until noon and that was entirely technique,” LeValley said. “One group was with Scott. We came back this afternoon and did some more technique and wrestled the rest of the day.”

Becker, a former All-American, said the trip was good for both the contingent from Minnesota and the local wrestlers.

“We’ve got a strong tradition at Minnesota,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great guys that stick around and help on the team. It’s good for us to come out here and make some connections and see some kids. There’s always great kids coming out from all different places in the state. It’s good to come out here and see some kids and hopefully, help them get better in the process.”

Zachmeier said approximately 60 of the campers stayed with families in town, while about half of the group drove back and forth.

“The armory is a perfect facility for a camp like this,” Zachmeier said. “We have the kitchen here, we feed them here. We’re close to the park to take the younger kids to it.”

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