Tifton Gazette


June 16, 2014

Tift matmen headed for Darton camp

TIFTON — It seems that every local athlete is on the go.

Football and basketball are having spring practice, baseball and softball are playing summer games, swimmers are in the pool, a local golf tournament was scheduled for Monday and tennis camps are in full swing.

So, it should not seem unusual that wrestling has found a way to join them.

Shawn Watson, head coach of the Tift County Blue Devils mat squad and assistant Zac Martin were out early Monday morning. They were collecting forms, making calls and rounding up wrestlers for a road trip.

Their destination? Albany, for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Team Wrestling Camp, being held at Darton State.

Local FCA representatives Lynn Kelley and Larry Poole arrived as the athletes were loading a school bus. They spoke in support of the team and presented Watson with a check.

This particular camp is a first for Watson and team. The reasoning for their inaugural participation is simple: "it's the first time having one down this way," said Watson.

The camp will not only feature his team, but several others from Florida and Georgia. Watson was told that it involved around 200 wrestlers. Fifteen of his were scheduled to go, ranging in age from 6th grade to 12th.

Other than learning some of the sport's experts — the FCA's wrestling website lists two Olympians, including gold medalist John Peterson and Carl Perry, who is the National Director of FCA wrestling and coach at Illinois — they will also be involved with faith-based activities.

Watson said it was a double blessing. "A blessing technique-wise and a blessing."

The camp started Monday and runs through Wednesday. Tift's wrestlers will be staying at Albany during the duration.

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Jensen Rainey (left) and Josie Arant will both be participating in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship next week in North Carolina.

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