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Maniacs Wrestling Club Gives New Option

Practices Begin Aug. 1 For Local Athletes

Throughout much of Western New York, the opportunities for student-athletes to hone their skills on the wrestling mat during the offseason can at times be few and far between.

But the new Maniacs Wrestling Club will provide area grapplers with the perfect chance to learn from a group of talented coaches, while refining their craft in preparation for their respective school seasons.

Practices will begin on Aug. 1 and run through Oct. 31, right before high school wrestling kicks off.

The Maniacs Wrestling Club, which will be open to athletes ranging from ages 9-18, will hold practices on Sundays from noon-1:45 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m. Practices will be held at 10745 Bennett Road in Dunkirk.

There is a monthly $50 registration fee per athlete and a New York Wrestling Association for Youth membership is required to take part in practices.

The convenience of having an affordable local option when it comes to training is huge instead of possibly having to travel to places like Erie or Buffalo.

“If you want kids to get better at wrestling and get to their peak performance when it comes to placing in the state meet, they have to go to clubs that are really far away from Western New York,” said Dakota Gardner, Maniacs Wrestling Club co-organizer and 2016 Fredonia Central School graduate. “They are an hour or an hour and 10-minute drive. We want to rebuild the area back into it and we think wrestling is a really awesome sport that teaches discipline, humility and how to never give up.”

Kenny Betts, Nick Jones, Ceric Kristan, and brothers Dakota and Dalton Gardner will be coaches for the club and each coach enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the mat during their own careers.

With 269 career wins, Betts holds the record for the most in Section VI history. Right behind Betts is Dakota Gardner, who racked up 267 wins. Dalton Gardner was a two-time Section VI champion and a two-time New York state place finisher. Jones was a three-time Section VI finalist and a three-time New York State qualifier, and Kristan was a two-time Section VI champion and a three-time New York State representative.

“(Wrestling) has molded my friendships (even) as a young adult,” Dakota Gardner said. “I am going camping with three guys I wrestled with. One from Alden, one from Chautauqua Lake and one from Pennsylvania who I met on the wrestling mat and competed against. … You go through that grind together and it creates a different kind of bond that you would not get from other people. I am extremely excited about our coaching staff. We are very, very diverse in our styles of wrestling.”

The Maniacs Wrestling Club could potentially provide local wrestlers with a wonderful platform to continue to grow and prosper, which will only benefit school wrestling programs in the long run.

“We are very excited about it,” Dakota Gardner emphasized. ” … As far as helping kids goes, there is nothing I love more. I could spend eight hours a day on a wrestling mat coaching because it is probably my favorite hobby in the world. And I am sure most of our coaches feel similar to that.”

Any interested athlete can reach Dakota Gardner directly at 716-785-3494 or by sending him an email at DG21727@gmail.com.

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