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Giving back to the mats

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 18th, 2013


Siuslaw grads and volunteer coaches Hayden Miles and Ryan Connor (back row) with middle school wrestlers (from left) Darin Coolidge, Landon Robinson, Mason Buss and Andrew Tupua. Miles and Tupua will compete at the Freestyle/Greco Nationals next month in Fargo, N.D.
When wrestlers gather in Fargo, N.D., next month for the largest Freestyle/Greco wrestling tournament in the world, among them will be two names familiar to Florence area residents: Andrew Tupua and Hayden Miles.

Miles, who graduated earlier this month and competed at the state 4A tournament, was still on the mats long after the collegiate schedule ended.

Joined by fellow Siuslaw graduate Ryan Connor, who took second this year at state in the heavyweight division, the two began sharing their knowledge and love of wrestling with the next generation of young wrestlers who hope to follow in their footsteps.

“It’s been a great experience for everyone involved,” said Stecher Buss, who, along with Siuslaw head wrestling coach Neil Wartnik, got the youth program rolling. “At first, Hayden and Ryan were just here helping out. Next thing we knew, they were running practices and the program.

“It’s pretty special when you see kids step up to carry the torch as mentors.”

In April, Miles and Connor took wrestlers Andrew Tupua, Darin Coolidge, Mason Buss and Landon Robinson to the Oregon Sate Freestyle and Greco meet in Portland.

In addition, Miles also wrestled, finishing sixth in the Greco’s 160-lb. division.

Tupua, wrestling Freestyle/Greco at 138 lbs., took the division title.

As a result, both qualified for the nationals in Fargo, N.D., July 15-20, Miles in the Cadet division and Tupua in the junior division.

For the complete article see the 06-19-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-19-2013 paper.


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