Big season for 'Stars and Stripes'
The Fairfield-based Stars and Stripes Youth Wrestling Club concluded its 2016-17 season on Feb. 26.
“This was another great year of practices and competitive wrestling at meets,” said Steve Miller, who volunteers as a coach.
Miller is also the head coach of the Fairfield High School wrestling team, which among its 2016-17 highlights, finished second in the Southeast Conference and second at the prestigious 13-team Southeast Iowa Classic.
“With the Stars and Stripes program,” said Miller, “we simply want to make sure all the young kids are having a great deal of fun with the sport. We had a lot of kids in the program this season and they all worked hard, had fun and enjoyed the experience. I know I speak for all the coaches when I say that we certainly enjoyed working with these kids.”
Among the other volunteer coaches are Jay Pike, Bryon Stever, Tylor Pilcher, Eric Allison, Shae McCabe, and Kelly Cass.
“We always want to make sure the practices are fun and we’ve found that having practices one hour long, three nights a week works out perfectly for the kids,” Miller said.
And while fun is stressed more than winning, these kids did enjoy plenty of success this season.
In fact, five youth wrestlers advanced from the Iowa AAU State Districts Tournament in Washington to the Iowa AAU State Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Feb. 25-26.
Alyia Abbott took third place at the Iowa AAU Girls State Tournament.
Cael McCabe took first place in the 50-pound weight division.
Also enjoying success were Zach Westercamp, Dain Burkheart and Dre Smithburg, all winning matches in Des Moines.
The 2017-18 season for Stars and Stripes will begin in November.
All kids from second through eighth grades are welcome to join.
“We’re hoping that we continue to build this club,” Miller said. “We’re glad we’re able to introduce the sport of wrestling to kids and show them how to have a lot of fun while competing.”