High School Sports

Growing Indian Land wrestling camp brings together high school, college athletes

Special to The Herald

High school teams often take trips to colleges for summer sports camps. But one college has switched it up, coming south to work with local wrestlers.

For five years, Indian Land High School and Rutgers University’s Commitment to Excellence Wrestling Academy has hosted a local wrestling camp featuring coaches and wrestlers from Rutgers.

This year’s three-day camp, which was held June 13-15 at the high school, featured Rutgers head coach Scott Goodale, associate head coach and two-time NCAA champion Donny Pritzlaff, 2019 NCAA champion Anthony Ashnault and Northwestern University wrestler Sebastian Rivera.

Tom Tanis, a former Rutgers wrestler, coaches at the Indian Land-based Commitment To Excellence club and helped bring Rutgers coaches to the camp in Indian Land. As the club has grown, so has the camp to the point they needed a space big enough like Indian Land High’s gym to host the event.

“Our goal is to serve the area and the community,” Tanis said. “Indian Land has been a great ambassador. The camp is growing a bit. We have seen a steady increase.”

This year’s camp attracted more than 50 wrestlers from age 7 to college. Rivera, who took third at this year’s NCAA championships at 125 pounds, said he enjoys giving back to the sport.

“I was asked by Goody (Goodale) the other day to do a camp, and I was like yeah, no problem,” Rivera said. “Anytime I can do a camp with some of the other guys, I try to make time for it. It is a great experience.

“They are great clinic technicians and being able to go with them is something I look forward too. And helping kids is a big part. I like helping the kids,” he said.

Rivera, a New Jersey native, said despite being from another Big 10 school, he has a lot of respect for Goodale. They are from the same area in New Jersey, he said.

“He is a friend and there has always been a respect and a love there,” Rivera said.

Rivera said he likes to take downtime in the summer for himself to recoup from a long wrestling season but enjoys traveling to about seven camps, mostly around New Jersey and Illinois. This was his first time in South Carolina.

For Goodale, the 2019 NCAA Coach of the Year, having camps in South Carolina helps build the Rutgers brand. Rutgers finished ninth in the country at the NCAA tournament this year.

Goodale said one of his recruits, John Ciaramella, attended a camp before coming to Rutgers from Marvin Ridge High in Waxhaw, N.C.

“When you have success, people want a part of it,” Goodale said. “Anthony (Ashnault) and Nick (Suriano) have been all over the country doing these things. It is important. They get to teach and show moves and it grows the Rutgers wrestling brand and we get to do that in South Carolina.”

Related stories from Rock Hill Herald