UCC Mainstream Online

New wrestling club enters arena

Hannah Hawkins / Mainstream
Above: Mick Davis and Taylor Diaz grapple.
Below: Asia DeWeese, co-advisor of the club, explained different methods of take-downs.

UCC recently started a wrestling club with the intent of someday creating men’s and women’s collegiate teams. This club, which meets Fridays at 4 p.m. in PE 14, is looking for more college students to join.

Mick Davis, associate science professor, advises the club. Davis has participated in various avenues of wrestling over the last 20 years. He wrestled throughout high school in Bethel, Alaska and at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. He has helped coach wrestling camps and clubs.

His intent to start a wrestling club came from the potential within the local community.

“I thought it was a missed opportunity having Roseburg High be such a powerhouse in wrestling and then having UCC right here and not having any kind of wrestling program,” Davis said.

His short term goal is to give past wrestlers a place to train and get back into the sport; his long term goal is for UCC to host both men’s and women’s teams.

“There are now 20 women’s college wrestling programs in the country so there is no reason why we can’t have one too,” Davis said. “Five are on the West Coast and the rest are in the Midwest.”

Asia DeWeese, assistant professor of adult basic skills, is co-advisor of the club. DeWeese started wrestling at age 13, continuing up through high school where she tried out for the US Nationals women’s wrestling team her senior year. DeWeese became one of the forerunners in the growth of women’s wrestling on a national level. As she continued wrestling at the University of Oregon, DeWeese also competed in the World Championships from 1989 to 1991 before ending her career in 1992.

“Who I am today is a large part because of all that, but I can’t take credit for it anymore,” DeWeese said. She spent several years away from the sport, traveling overseas but recently reunited herself, helping with wrestling clubs in the community. “It was really hard to end… but I think I needed that- to get away from it and find my identity. But this is really the first time I have gotten back into wrestling.”

“One of the things I really love about teaching [the sport] is that it is not about me anymore. It’s not about how great I am; it’s not about my record. It’s about them. It’s about me giving to them,” DeWeese said.

The club is open to all UCC students, regardless of wrestling background or knowledge. Four students participated in the first club meeting that consisted of warming up, stretching, take-downs and some live wrestling. No equipment is necessary; however, students must sign a waiver upon arrival to the club. “The club is very much open to beginners. If you are athletic and have body awareness, it’s not that hard to learn,” DeWeese said. “It’s great physical strengthening and great for self-defense.”

DeWeese encourages more women to check out the club and join. “Its confidence building and very rewarding.”

Davis hopes the club will aid in recruiting high school students with wrestling backgrounds.

Currently, an Oregon high school wrestler who wants to continue wrestling in college currently has only six choices within the state. For men, Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University, Portland State University, Pacific University, Clackamas Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College all have successful wrestling programs. Women have just Pacific and SWOCC to choose between.

Hannah Hawkins / Mainstream
Left: Associate science professor and wrestling club advisor Mick Davis practices a take-down move on student Taylor Diaz as co-advisor Asia DeWeese and UCC student Lewis Harp study the form. Right: Taylor Diaz practices the same take-down move on Mick Davis. The club meets every Friday at 4 p.m., PE 14.

Davis is focused on taking the club to competitive levels. “I want students to have a better chance to say ‘I wrestled for my state.’”

Clackamas Community College can serve as a model if the club evolves into a sport. Clackamas has sponsored wrestling as a National Junior College Athletic Association sport since 1969.

Josh Rhoden, head wrestling coach at Clackamas, explains their accomplishments.

“For us, wrestling has been made successful in part to a philosophy we have here of finding student athletes who are very good in wrestling and dedicated to our academic mission of completing in two years,” Rhoden said. This philosophy allows the school to equip student athletes to move on to compete at Division I and Division II schools.

One of the biggest obstacles Davis and the wrestling club faces at UCC is funding.

“I know the interest is there. I know people in Douglas county love wresting,” Davis said. “It’s just that to start a program from scratch, you have to buy mats, you have to buy uniforms, you have to buy shoes.”

In spite of the cost, Rhodes encourages UCC. “I think a program at Umpqua is a perfect idea especially with the strong tradition of wrestling in the southern Oregon area. To start with, you have a market of very solid wrestlers who would most likely love to continue their wrestling career near home and compete in front of friends and family,” Rhoden said.

The start-up cost for wrestling compared to other sports is relatively low.

Instead of all the gear, equipment, uniforms and field maintenance for football, for example, wrestling only requires mats. Athletes usually buy their own shoes and singlet.

“A brand new [mat] set is about $10,000, but it would last about 15 years,” Davis said. Compared to the costs other sports incur in gymnasiums or fields, mats are relatively inexpensive. The median cost of adding a football program to a college’s athletic budget is about $1 million, for example, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Davis foresees gaining funds for the program through local business support as well as school support. Local businesses could buy portions of the mat and place their logo on, for example. “As like anything that happens around here where budget is tight, it’s going to have to be a little from everywhere,” Davis said.

Davis expects that wrestling could add substantial value to UCC.

“Schools all over America are seeing the economic and enrollment value of adding a sport such as wrestling,” Rhoden said. “With high school participation numbers at an all-time high, there are literally thousands of kids looking for a place to continue wrestling. This is a big deal to enrollment-minded schools such as Umpqua and Clackamas where an extra 60 [students] paying tuition and fees, living and working in the community is a very big deal.”

In the meantime, Davis’ plan is to show a steady interest and participation in the club then proceed to making a team.

“There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to pull it off, especially when we have Roseburg High School to pull from,” Davis said. “It’s a precedent that has been set. It’s been done; we should be able to do it.”