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West Jordan Journal

Copper Hills offers high-profile wrestling camp

Jul 28, 2017 12:23PM ● By Greg James

The Grizzlies wrestling program continues to improve by offering its athletes summer opportunities to train. (Dave Sanderson/

Wrestlers from around the valley descended upon Copper Hills High School in July to participate in a one-of-a-kind summer camp.

“The Purler wrestling camp focuses on foundation skill building,” Copper Hills head coach Jeff Humpherys said. “We believe they work on the core moves that 60 to 70 percent of wrestlers need to know. The muscle memory taught at the camp through doing the moves over and over will help these kids improve.” 

The Purler wrestling camp was held at Copper Hills High School July 25–29. It is for wrestlers age 10 and up. The camp’s location gives participants an opportunity to be involved without incurring the cost of travel and rooms.

Purler Wrestling was established in 1999 by former Oklahoma State wrestler Nick Purler and his twin brother, Tony. Nick was an All-American and Big 12 champion and member of three Division One national championship teams. Tony was a national champion at Nebraska. Their wrestling academy is the nation’s largest wrestling school, and its members travel weekly to train with the Purlers. 

The school boasts training 1,112 All-Americans and 152 national champions.

“The camp does not teach you fancy moves that you may never use,” Copper Hills wrestling booster Gardner Wheeler said. “They say a wrestler will use 10 percent of his moves 90 percent of the time. They focus on the basics over and over. It also teaches them life skills and gives them a model for succeeding in life.” 

Purler Wrestling also offers a DVD of the camp instruction for the participants to take home. 

“They get more than just a camp T-shirt,” Wheeler said. “They take part of the camp home with them.” 

Last summer, four girls attended the camp. This year the number of girls wrestling in the state of Utah has increased. 

“I think this camp is a great opportunity to help kids in the Salt Lake Valley to do well, especially against traditional state wrestling powerhouses,” Wheeler said.

Only two teams from the Salt Lake Valley finished in the top eight in 2017 state dual team 5A and 4A championships (Cyprus sixth, Corner Canyon seventh). The bulk of the state’s top wrestlers live in Utah and Davis counties. Wasatch was the 4A dual team champion, and Layton won 5A.

The National Federation of State High School Associations has approved a uniform change for this wrestling season. Participants can now wear a two-piece uniform consisting of compression shorts and a form-fitted shirt. Wrestlers have the option to use the new two-piece uniform or the traditional one-piece uniform.

The committee approved the use of the alternate two-piece uniform in hopes of increasing boys’ and girls’ participation in the sport after receiving favorable results from experimentation and positive comments from schools, students, coaches and officials.

“I feel any growth in the sport is a good thing,” Wheeler said. “I think this will reduces barriers for interested participants and give more young people the chance to participate in this great sport.” 

Wrestling ranks seventh in popularity among boys at the high school level according to the 2015–16 NFSHS participation survey. In addition 13,496 girls participate in the sport throughout the nation.

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