Club introducing children to wrestling at a young age

Published 11:20 am Thursday, April 15, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- There are certainly many reasons the Niles and Brandywine high school wrestling programs have been so successful lately, but one of those reasons has to be the Niles Wrestling Club.
Now in its third year, the club is a freestyle wrestling program that was started by Jim Craig of Niles in 2001.
This year, the program started with about 85 wrestlers. Those numbers have dwindled somewhat with the start of other sports seasons, but the club is still going strong.
With practices every Tuesday and Thursday night at Niles High School, the wrestlers prepare for weekend tournaments at various locations around the state.
Each wrestler pays a $25 fee to join the club and that cost includes a club T-shirt. Children as young as five years old and up to high school age can join the club. There are even some adults who work out with the older members of the club and compete in tournaments themselves on the weekends.
The club has attracted wrestlers not only from Niles, but Buchanan and Edwardsburg as well.
Freestyle wrestling is different than collegiate wrestling, which is what the high school programs compete in. Freestyle, however, prepares the wrestlers for collegiate wrestling.
Findeisen, who is originally from Illinois, wrestled at Ferris State University but never coached the sport until the club started.
The club plan to take wrestlers to the upcoming district tournament at Coloma High School. A strong finish there would send wrestlers to the regionals and possibly to the state tournament.
Findeisen predicted several members of the Niles Wrestling Club would place at the state tournament.
It looks like more good things are in store for the Niles and Brandywine wrestling programs, thanks in part to the Niles Wrestling Club.