National tournament serves as learning experience for area wrestlers

Eight Elite Wrestling Academy wrestlers recently returned from the national wrestling championship tournament in Fargo, N.D. The week-long tournament is the country’s largest wrestling tournament with more than 4,000 competitors.
The wrestlers qualified by placing in the top three at the state meet. Qualifying wrestlers were: Brandon Lorenz, Kingwood Park High School; William Ringo, Humble High School; Sarah Perez, Klien Oak High School; Cody Shewmake, KPHS; David Prado, HHS; Will Lorenz, KPHS; Fazon Voilter, HHS and Blaine Kingston, HHS.
“This was the first time on the big stage and under the bright lights for our kids,” said Elite Wrestling Academy’s head coach Derrick Waldroup. “I think they learned a lot from this experience.”
Waldroup speaks from personal experience. He has competed at the highest levels of national and international wrestling. The four-time Greco-Roman national champion placed seventh for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team.
“It took me a long time into my career until I fully embraced and combined the mental aspect and preparation into my training regimen,” said Waldroup. “So our philosophy is to share our experiences, provide and train our kids on how to use mental visualization techniques so that they can embrace it now.”
Assistant coach Tony Greco believes the young wrestlers reached a milestone at the tournament.
“I think the bulb has finally gone from dim to shinning brightly as to why Derrick kept stressing the mental aspects and the need to train at the highest intensity levels,” said Greco. “When you get to the higher levels in the sport, everyone is well coached and trained so it is going to come down to intensity, mental preparation, and who wants it more,” added Waldroup.
After competing in Fargo, the academy wrestlers have set expectations of becoming triple crown winners during the high school season by capturing UIL district, regional, and state championships.

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