Six minutes on the mat can leave even the most experienced wrestlers taxed mentally and physically exhausted. So can, as the Beavercreek Beavers found out, mulching a 200-yard stretch of hiking trail at Caesar Creek State Park.
Beavercreek coach Gary Wise takes pride in his team’s history of community service. So when officials at Caesar Creek called asking if his wrestlers could mulch about a 200-yard trail – uphill from the base to the top of the dam – he said yes.
The project took hundreds of buckets of mulch. And teamwork. That can do attitude has been a staple of the Beavers program.
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“That was a bear,” Wise said of one of the more ambitious projects the program has pinned. “I remember counting (stair) steps and we got to 100. From beginning to end it was almost 200 yards of mulching uphill.”
A different high school sports team started the mulching project. But Wise said that team turned it down not long after starting. The Beavers sweated it out for close to three weeks during September.
A team that loaded buckets was stationed at the base of the trail. Another team took the buckets halfway uphill. A third team took the bucket up about 100 stair steps. There was a wheelbarrow team spreading mulch, too.
“We were going up and down, carrying buckets up slippery stairs because it was raining. It was very challenging and it took a lot of will power just to get up over and down those steps every time,” senior Carlos Medina said. “It helped you build fortitude. Saying I can get up these stairs and I can down these stairs and come back up. No matter how many times you go down the stairs you always seem to get up them.”
The Beavers have carried that same effort into the wrestling season. Beavercreek’s next challenge is the battle for the Champions Cup at rival Centerville on Thursday.
The team’s talent includes junior sectional champion Kaileigh Nuessgen (120/126), district qualifier junior Kyah Patrick (126/132), sophomore Lincoln Kuba (120/126), junior Jacob Pfander (138), junior Garrett Golden, junior Ian Baird (152), senior Alex Canida (160), junior Jordan Dillon (170), senior John Hammond (182), senior Austin Stevenson (195), senior and three-time district qualifier Bradley Smith (220), junior Justin Knipper (285), two-time state qualifier and junior Gavin Bell (152) and Medina (152).
“I feel like we’re doing pretty good this year,” Smith said. “Starting all four years I’ve seen different styles of leading and how we all work together. I feel like the team we have together is definitely the most together. I’d say there’s more like a family aspect than in years past.”
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In addition to the mulching the team has taken on community service projects like valet parking at Hospice events and rent-a-wrestler for yard work and other chores. The team has also raked leaves for those who are physically unable.
“It’s definitely a good thing to do,” Bell said. “Just to help the community out and do things for people. … I think they were really thankful for (mulching the trail) and glad we could do that for them.”
Added Wise: “I think what’s really neat are the valets. Any valet that we’ve done is pretty neat. We’ve done Hospice down at America’s Packard Museum. We had to hustle on that because the parking lots weren’t close. The clientele is very gracious.
“They’re good, hard-working kids. They really are. For the most part they’re respectful and they do what you ask. They go out and they compete. They don’t back down. There are certain situations they know they’re wrestling a tough guy. They don’t back down. Hats off to them for stepping out there and going through that.”
And for mulching that trail.