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Twin Cities coaches share expertise at WDC wrestling camp

Photos by Brian Hansel Wrestling camp is not all about wrestling. Above, WDC Wrestling Campers had their Thursday night supper served by Wadena-Deer Creek Head Wrestling Coach Norm Gallant, who grilled venison steaks and sausages outside the Deer Creek gymnasium. Three sessions, from Wednesday through Friday, were planned for the 2012 camp.1 / 2
Champlin Park Head Wrestling Coach Bill Maresh demonstrated a move with the help of a young grappler Wednesday at the Wadena-Deer Creek Wrestling Team Camp at the Deer Creek School.2 / 2

Bill Maresh does most of his coaching at Champlin Park High School in the Twin Cities, but a mid-July trip to Deer Creek had him smiling.

"The reason I like it is that it's teaching and it's a relaxed atmosphere," Maresh said Wednesday evening as he prepared for chow call after a Wadena-Deer Creek Camp session at the Deer Creek gym.

Maresh and assistant coach Pete Ockuly came up from Champlin Park for the three-day camp. Maresh was a high school state runner-up at Blaine and achieved a two-time Junior National Greco-Roman wrestling championship. Maresh broke into the coaching ranks in 1980 with the Herakles Wrestling Club. He became a high school wrestling coach in 1989. Maresh is in his 20th year of coaching at Champlin Park, where he has coached 57 all-state wrestlers, 20 state champs and five high school All-Americans.

Maresh was once heavily involved in teaching at summer wrestling camps in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, but he admitted that the WDC camp was his first in quite a while. He made his connection with the WDC program through Ockuly, who coached the son of WDC volunteer assistant Coach Curt Leesberg at Robbinsdale Cooper before moving to Champlin Park. Ockuly wrestled for 11-time national champion Augsburg in college.

In addition to assisting Maresh with Champlin Park's Class 3A program, Ockuly runs the school's Leadership Academy.

"We're combining teaching wrestling with a mini-leadership academy," WDC Head Wrestling Coach Norm Gallant said. "One of the things we work on a lot is the mental aspect of wrestling."

Gallant has moved his summer camps around since becoming a WDC wrestling coach. This year's camp in Deer Creek drew 20 grapplers. The WDC wrestling program will be run out of the new secondary school this fall.