Spectrum duo plans star-studded wrestling camp to help keep sport in the Olympics

Spectrum wrestling captains Joey Chaffin (left) and Joel Galvin have an ambitious idea for their Senior Project. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Spectrum wrestling captains Joey Chaffin (left) and Joel Galvin have an ambitious idea for their Senior Project. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Young wrestlers who’d like to get some coaching from a group of former state champions, while helping to get wrestling re-instated as an Olympic sport, should check out the “Save Olympics Wrestling Camp” being organized by two Spectrum co-captains.

“At Spectrum, you need to complete a Senior Project to graduate, and we wanted to do something with wrestling,” said Joey Chaffin, who’s teaming with Joel Galvin on the project.

The camp is slated for July 30 and 31, and Aug. 1, at Spectrum, provided they get enough entrants.

“They have put together a camp where wrestlers are volunteering their time to make this camp happen,” said Sean Ryther, Spectrum wrestling coach who’s serving as faculty advisor along with Darrell Skog. “The camp clinicians include some elite International wrestlers, former state champions, All Americans, national champions, and World Team members.”

That group includes athletes whose mat careers started as Minnesota state champions — Zac Nielsen of Zimmerman, Jake Waste and Devon Scott of Apple Valley, Joel Baumann of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and Jake Clark of South St. Paul. Nielsen, a two-time state champion for Zimmerman, graduated this year from U.S. Olympic Education Center in Marquette, MI. He’s been competing nationally for four years.

In lining up the distinguished group of clinicians, the duo enlisted the assistance of David Peterson of Minnesota USA Wrestling.

“He is well-connected. He knows all of them and they said they wanted to help with this camp,” said Chaffin.

Camp proceeds will go to the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement, whose goal is to overturn a recent controversial decision by the Olympic Committee to drop wrestling after the 2016 Games. USA Wrestling and other boosters are mobilizing to convince the committee to change their minds for 2020.

“Dropping wrestling in the Olympics would have a huge affect on high school and college wrestling,” said Chaffin. “The Olympics is the ultimate goal for wrestlers, with no professional league, like in other sports. It would be really hard for the whole sport. With this camp, we want to contribute money, and help raise awareness.”

Chaffin wrestled at 182 and Galvin at 170 for the Sting last year.

The duo is hoping dearly to have this camp as a senior project but they need more entrants to make it happen.

“We need more people to sign up, or we can’t have it,” Galvin said.

They started advertising in early May, he said, on Facebook, with flyers posted around town, and in The Guillotine. They’re a little surprised hey haven’t gotten enough entrants yet. Maybe it’s because wrestlers had already decided on what camps they were going to attend, he said.

For more information, or to register, go online at saveolympicwrestlingcamp.webs.com.

As Chaffin said, Spectrum students are required to complete a Senior Project of their own choosing, normally during the school year, as a graduate requirement. He and Galvin decided to get a jump on their senior year, while contributing to a cause that wrestlers care about.