Free Youth Program Tackles Wrestling Skills

The program runs Tuesdays and Thursdays through the winter at East Quogue Elementary School.

Most parents are always on the hunt for an activity to enroll their young children in. They look to dance and karate schools, as well as little league and soccer programs. But, many don’t know that in their backyard there is a free wresting program that has slipped under the radar for nearly 9 years.

The program, called Westhampton Youth Wrestling, is run by a team of skilled, volunteer coaches who two times a week, get on the mat and teach kids the art of wrestling.

The program was started by father and son Vinny and Jeff Ciolino, who wanted to provide another activity for the area’s youth in the winter.

The program, according to Brian Babcock, an assistant coach, brings in anywhere from 50 to 70 kids, between the ages of 4 and 12, each Tuesday and Thursday evening to the East Quogue Elementary School.

“They come from all over,” said Babcock, “From Hampton Bays, Riverhead, Rocky Point, Westhampton Beach and Quogue and East Quogue.”

During each session, the kids are broken up by age group and given the opportunity to practice their wrestling skills with a coach — parents are encouraged to take off their shoes and get on the mat as well.

“The gym is lined with mats and the kids can roll around and learn the basics,” said Babcock.

The kids are then given the opportunity to participate in friendly, weekend scrimmages and tournaments with other wrestling organizations in Suffolk County that are also affiliated with USA wrestling.

In Suffolk alone, he said, 400 kids, both boys and girls, are registered in a USA wrestling program.

Over the past weekend, Babcock, said 33 of his students participated in a tournament at the Eastport-South Manor School — each received medals.

“The most important thing is that these kids have fun and feel good about themselves,” said Babcock. “Wrestling is good mentally and for discipline.”

Over the past several years, Babcock said many of his students have gone to on wrestle in high school, successfully securing varsity spots.

“A lot of wrestlers have come through our program and have done well in the future,” said Babcock.

Parents are welcome to bring their children to any Tuesday or Thursday session to for a trial class. A donation of $75 is requested to cover uniforms, insurance, use of the school gym, and USA Wrestling registration, but the donation is not required for participation.

The program runs from December through March.

For more information, e-mail Babcock at brianbab@optonline.net.

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Bryan Schaumloffel February 07, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Awesome! Thanks to the coaches for a great experience!
Wayne Ciolino February 07, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Very Nice read
Carol Combes February 08, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Great. Get the children interested when young. My grandson is the only 10th. grader from East Quogue on the Westhampton Beach.wrestling team. It is many hours of dedication both on the wrestle and the parents. Gram Carol Combes
carrie dansky February 09, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Love this program and all the guys who volunteer!!!
Brian B February 12, 2013 at 03:29 AM
Thanks to Erica for great article and good luck to all county competitors on Tuesday and Wednesday and to the WYW that will wrestle in there respective tournaments
Carol Combes February 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Another first place win for Senior Alex Tanzman (WHB) Tuesday. Good luck on Wednesday. Carol Combes
Brian B February 14, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Congrats Alex , hard work and deep dedication to yourself and your family has ruled the day, good luck in the states!


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