The way Reedsport wrestling coach Bo Flora sees things, success during the high school season in the winter requires hard work in the summer. And he is seeing that this year, with more than a handful of Reedsport wrestlers preparing for a national tournament this weekend in Fargo, N.D.
And one of them, Yesenia Velazquez, is coming off a great performance at the Western States Championships in Pocatello, Idaho.
“Yesenia did awesome,” Hampton said.
The Reedsport junior-to-be wrestled for Oregon’s girls team and as an individual in all three styles — Greco Roman, freestyle and collegiate (the style used for high school wrestling).
“She had a ton of matches,” Hampton said.
Velazquez won a number of her matches wrestling for Oregon’s team, and when she got to the individual portion of the tournament, she placed fourth in collegiate and fifth in Greco Roman.
“The best part is, she’s a sophomore and every kid in her bracket was a senior,” Hampton said, adding that Velazquez pinned one Oregon wrestler who finished ahead of her in the state wrestling regional.
“She has improved so much,” Hampton said.
But that goes for all eight of Reedsport’s kids who have been working in the spring and summer.
“All these kids have improved,” he said.
Velazquez and Kyren Johnson went to the tournament in Idaho. Johnson and several others also went to Spokane, Wash., for the Cadet National Duals.
Johnson wrestled with the top Oregon team, while Adam and Aaron Solomon and Jose Martinez were on Oregon’s second team.
“They got to wrestle some of the best kids in the country,” said Hampton, who helped coach Oregon’s teams.
This weekend, Aaron and Adam Solomon, Johnson, Jose Martinez and Miguel Velazquez were in Sweet Home for a camp before heading to the Cadet Nationals at Fargo.
Eli Carson and Christian Solomon went to Eastern Oregon University for a camp before they head to the junior division of the tournament at Fargo. And Yesenia Velazquez was in Elmira for a girls camp before heading to her national tournament at Fargo.
Hampton looked at the eight kids wrestling at the nationals as a huge plus.
“That’s twice as many kids as we had on the high school team four years ago,” he said.
The wrestlers have been practicing two or three days a week and running every day, Hampton said.
Though the three summer wrestling styles are somewhat different, they all help round out the abilities of the wrestlers.
“We work a lot on freestyle and Greco,” Hampton said. “They are able to take a lot of what they learn and apply it to the season.
“You can tell the kids who wrestle in the summer.”
Hampton is thrilled to see his wrestlers working so hard.
“Knowing that these kids are committed during the summer (is great),” he said.
Reedsport is hoping to build momentum after six wrestlers advanced to state in the spring, four of them freshmen or sophomores.
But it’s more than the state success that matters to the Hampton.
“All the kids are working hard in the classroom and in the weight room, and it all carries over,” he said. “They are starting to buy into what we say. When they are dedicated in the classroom, it carries over to the wrestling room.
“That’s a big thing we pushed last year. It made a big different in our program.”