Arab wrestling coach Michael Pruitt believes summer camps are useful on several fronts.
His wrestlers travel together to different college campuses – most with wrestling programs among the nation’s elite. They – and the coaches, too – see new and different ways to train and wrestle, all the while as the wrestlers hone their own skills with daily practice.
But among the most important aspects of the trips is the team-building that happens during the ride to and from the destination, as well as the time spent away from home at camp.
Since making that first trip to North Carolina State in 1999, the formula has worked. Arab has been a top five wrestling program in the state since 2005. The Knights have won seven traditional state championships – including six in a row – and finished runnerup three other times. They have won two state duals championships.
But for all the wrestling success, Pruitt points to the larger aspect of learning that goes on during these trips. They visit places of interest, learn about the history of these places and grow in ways that can’t be accomplished in the classroom.
This summer was no different as 18 wrestlers and three coaches traveled to the University of Wyoming for the Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling Camp.
Among the sites seen by the wrestlers, coaches and bus driver Leonard Haga included Jackson Hole, Wyo., Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, the Crazy Horse Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park and the Patriotic Lighting Ceremony at Mount Rushmore.
They also went to Fort Hays, Kan., and the University of Colorado.
“We went to Denver, too,” Pruitt said, “but the guys couldn’t go to Mile High Stadium because there was a Garth Brooks concert going on.”