The Thunderbolt Wrestling Club at the Family Success Center had an amazing inaugural season. The team began practicing in early November and ended late January after the regional tournament. The team was made up of 12 kids, seven of them being from the Family Success Center after-school program and five others from the outside community.
Both boys and girls were on the team, and 95% of the participants did not have any type of background or prior experience in Greco-Roman wrestling. Ben Kresse, a collegiate wrestler on the faculty at St. Xavier High School, dedicated his off time to also act as the head coach for the Thunderbolt Wrestling team.
The assistant coach was Devon Doss, an 18-year-old volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul who wrestled at Western High School. Volunteers from St. Xavier High School helped throughout the season as well.
We would like to thank Kresse and the other volunteers for their dedication to the team and for offering to share their skills with the youth.
St. Vincent de Paul would also like to thank the Ignite Louisville group for raising funds to provide mats, wrestling gear, and covering entry fees for the team. The team would not have been successful without everyone’s collective effort.
Overall, the Thunderbolt Wrestling Club competed in three tournaments. At Fern Creek, Javon Stewart and Keshawn Johnson placed second and Zion Black placed third. At Central High, Zion Black placed first; Javon Stewart and Dantavious Stephenson placed as well. And Sammy Daniels won two matches at a regional meet.
“My hope for next year is that we build upon our successes and learn from our mistakes,” Kresse says. “I look forward to continuing the wrestling program (and to) allow the young kids an avenue to release their energy in a positive, life-giving way.”
In addition to providing physical activity, wrestling had added benefits for youth. “This program helped our participants with learning how to manage anger and disappointment, and it also instilled within them the team aspects of discipline, honor and integrity,” says Julio Anthony, the FSC’s program manager.
For more info on next season’s wrestling team, contact Anthony at (502) 301-8686.
This article appears in the March issue of St. Vincent de Paul’s monthly newsletter, the Good Samaritan, which is delivered (via U.S. mail) for free to our subscribers. If you’d like to receive the Good Sam, sign up here.