Carson Bulldog wrestling continues success | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson Bulldog wrestling continues success

Remember that annoying black and white commercial for one of those brokerage firms in which the founder of the company talks about how he measures success one investor at a time.

While that cliche rings hollow from a corporation that takes money from thousands of customers, it could be used for the Carson Bulldogs youth wrestling club. The club truly measures success one wrestler at a time.

“We always modify our goals,” club director Ken Chalk said. “We all look in life for that little slice of greatness.

“It counts in church. It counts in business. We look at the success of athletes on many different levels.”

The definition of greatness for the Bulldogs ranges from a state title for one wrestler to the ability just to complete a move for another.

The foundation for the Bulldogs’ success is simple and as old as competition itself – fundamentals and sportsmanship. “We always emphasize sportsmanship right off the bat,” Chalk said.

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Detailed teaching is the key in stressing fundamentals as every move is covered thoroughly.

“We teach technique from its smallest increment, breaking it down into its smallest part and mastering each part,” Chalk said. “Fundamentals are the key.”

The success of the program can’t be denied. The Bulldogs are one of the biggest and best programs in the state. “Everybody shoots four us,” Chalk said.

Carson High’s successful wrestling program has also benefitted a great deal from the Bulldogs. Many of the Senators wrestlers got their start with the Bulldogs. Carson won its first zone title in 13 years in 2004 and much of that success can be attributed to the Bulldogs.

At last spring’s state championships, more than a dozen Bulldog wrestlers won state titles and the club took 33 wrestlers to Las Vegas for the state event, about double the number in the past.

Senator co-coach Tim McCarthy and Carson assistant coach Dave Lowe are among those who stay close to the program. “If you need help and you make a phone call they keep a running.”

The program has become big enough that it needs its own facility, “The Pound,” on Bath Street. Bob McDonald, one of the program’s assistant coaches, played a major role in the club moving into the facility.

In the last several years, the club’s membership has grown from the low 30s to as high as more than 100. So far about 50 have signed up for the club, “which is average for this stage of the season,” Chalk said.

Membership traditionally grows after the first of the year. On Monday, the club had an optional workout and almost 20 wrestlers showed up even though it was the first day of Christmas vacation. “For Christmas week this is great,” Chalk said.

Kids are becoming more involved in less traditional youth sports such as taekwondo, but Chalk said he has yet to notice a drop off in his club. Besides, he more than welcomes any club that provides activities for youth. “As long as they’re not sitting at home in front of the TV,” he said.

That was something 9-year-old Todd Lani wasn’t doing on Monday as he was at “The Pound.”

The 56-pound Lani has been wrestling since he was 6 and won a state title last spring. Lani is already striving for excellence. When he was asked what his record from last season was Lani said he “lost two out of 55” instead of saying 53-2. “I just like to come down here and wrestle and have fun,” he said.

Lani remembers one match from last spring’s state event when an opponent pulled his headgear over his eyes. “I couldn’t see the whole match,” he said.

But Lani took the incident in stride. “It doesn’t matter now. I beat him,” he said.

The Bulldogs will resume practice from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday next week and any youth 5-18 who are interested in wrestling are welcome to come to “The Pound” on 200 Bath Street. The season begins on Jan. 2 with a tournament at Wooster.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214.