GPAW Grizzlies enter second season of folk style youth wrestling

by dentonramsey

GPAW Grizzlies enter second season of folk style youth wrestling

 

By Denton Ramsey / Sports Editor

 

For wrestling fans in the Grand Prairie area, look no further than GPAW.

Grand Prairie Association of Wrestling (GPAW) was founded in 2005 by a group of former wrestlers and long-time fans that love the sport.

 “We started last year with a freestyle season and then went into the folk style, which is what the high school kids wrestle,” GPAW Grizzlies Head Coach Ken Murray said. “This is our second year of folk style. We had about 20 kids last year and we’ll probably hit 30 this year. We have veterans coming back this year, which is great, and a little bit of team leadership.

“We still have about three to four kids that are out because of football, and that’s just something that overlaps. We do compete against basketball and that’s the one thing that we say to these kids is, ‘if you’re a good basketball player, then this probably isn’t your sport.’ We took six kids to state last year and it was all new to me, the fist time to go all the way there, and it’s just nice to see this sport steadily growing.”

According to the team website, gpgrizzlies.com, GPAW is a non-profit amateur wrestling association of caring, enthusiastic, qualified volunteer coaches and support staff that participate in the local community to promote the sport of amateur wrestling throughout the DFW area.

The team mission statement reads as follows: The Grand Prairie Association of Wrestling strives to deepen each athlete’s commitment to wrestling by demonstrating the essential values of competitiveness, good sportsmanship, responsibility and respect. GPAW’s objective is to advance the sport of amateur wrestling in Grand Prairie, the DFW metroplex, and the state of Texas, by delivering guidance, instruction, and intense training to wrestlers so that they have the opportunity to achieve their goals.

Just last season, a Grizzlies wrestler by the name of Anthony Silva was living proof of GPAW’s mission statement, battling to the bitter end for a second-place finish.

“One of the first tournaments we had last year involved Anthony Silva,” Murray said. “He lost his first match and battled all the way back – the air conditioning wasn’t on in the school because it was December and I bet it was 90 degrees in that place. They got a late start on the brackets, so the adversity was there.

“And Anthony wrestled all the way back and got through at 8 o’clock that night and he came in second – and he was really kind of lethargic and I kept telling him he could do it because I could see he was tired. I found out later he was running a fever of 102.

“He fought all the way back to get second place and you never would have known he was sick looking at him, but he got home that night and his mom found out that he had been running a fever all day. He just battled past it and it’s an inspiration – he’s a great kid.”

The GPAW Grizzlies practice twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, at the South Grand Prairie High School Wrestling Gym from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Practices began Oct. 17, and the Grizzlies first tournament is Nov. 18 at the Oak Cliff YMCA.

The Grizzlies will attend 10 tournaments this season, including the state tournament in Houston in February as well as many local tournaments in North Texas.

Boys and girls ages 5-14 can participate and will wrestle someone of comparable age, weight and experience level.

For more information, visit the Grizzlies website at www.gpgrizzlies.com or contact GPAW President Jeff McCall at 817-637-1997.

 

Sports Editor Denton Ramsey can be reached via e-mail at denton.ramsey@gmail.com

 

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