Mentoring youth: More than 100 participate in South Tahoe wrestling camp

Jason Welch with youth winners of beach wrestling on Thursday.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — More than 100 kids participated in the Jason Welch wrestling camp Thursday, July 14, at Timber Cove Beach in South Lake Tahoe.

Each year for the past four years San Francisco State University Head Wrestling Coach Jason Welch brings a portion of his college team to coach youth in an intensive weeklong training session for wrestlers from all over the west coast. 

Jason Welch with youth winners of beach wrestling on Thursday.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Boys and girls ages 8 – 17, gather each year in South Lake Tahoe for a beach wrestling tournament. No experience is required, and weight classes are decided on the honor code, according to the flyer. 

Tammy and Ken Robbins, now part of the Takedown Club — the boosters for the wrestling team in South Lake Tahoe, were previous coaches of the beach wrestling event.

Tammy said, “It started as an idea for a day and built up.”

Ryan Wallace, South Tahoe High School wrestling coach who has been wrestling since age 5, and Jason Welch added the week-long camp to the Robbins’ one day event four years ago.

“I wanted to host a camp near the lake,” Welch said. “I knew there was something missing from what I was offering and that was Ryan Wallace.”  

Welch called on Wallace to recruit youth for the camp. 

Tahoe Youth from the Jason Welch Wrestling Camp
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Katie White, mother of 9-year-old second place winner Ozzy White, said, “I just think Ryan and Jason are the best, I can’t even make my kid tired like that.”

The local mother spoke to the dedication the coaches have to the kids and the kids have for the sport.

Wallace is clearly leaving a mark on the youth he’s mentoring.

The state heavyweight champion in South Lake Tahoe history, Jesus Chavarin, turned down scholarships to three other schools to attend the same college as his beloved coach. 

Coach Ryan Wallace, with Jayden, Kash, and Jesus
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

“I’m going to school at Cuesta in San Luis Obispo to wrestle and to carry on the legacy of Coach Wallace,” Chavarin said.

The community can also get involved to support the South Tahoe High School wrestling team as well as the summer wrestling camp. 

Wallace said, “We really need help feeding the kids in the off season when we do trips and especially during the beginning of the season in September.”

For those who would like to contribute can Venmo the wrestling team directly @ ST_wreSTling. All donations will be used to house, feed, and transport the wrestlers and coaches.

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