Penn State’s Aaron Brooks is a national collegiate wrestling champion, a cadet world champion, a four-time high school state champ, and a full-time college student. World-class athletes like Brooks don’t get a lot free time, so why drive to Lebanon High to help a hundred high school and younger wrestlers get better?
“I was maybe eight years old,” the Maryland native said, “and my dad was talking to Cary Kolat [a national champion and Olympian]. He was the first big wrestler I met, and I still remember it. These kids will remember this.”
Brooks was an instructor at last weekend’s three-day Lebanon High School wrestling camp put together by Cedar coach Vaughn Black and his staff. Over a hundred young wrestlers got the chance to learn from Brooks and fellow national champions Carter Starocci (Penn State) and David Carr (Iowa State), plus All-American and NCAA runner up Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) and former All-American Kenny Courts (Ohio State, Central Dauphin H.S.).
Putting together a three-day camp and getting college athletes to commit as instructors is a big job that requires months of preparation, and Black was happy with the results during a Saturday morning break.
“I think everything’s going great. We’re seeing lots of smiling faces, lots of kids putting in hard work. There’s some kids getting banged up, but they’re getting iced and popping right back in.”
Black said he was grateful for the support he’d received from the L.H.S. athletic department and administration, as well as the Pennsylvania National Guard and Cedar Crest and ELCO High Schools, who made their mats available to the camp. “The county schools are always fantastic with collaborating whenever we do an event.”
If Black has his way, this year’s camp will be the first of many. “My goal is to make this an annual event, and get top-notch wrestlers in here to work with our young men and women.”
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