Sunday Jul 20 2008
West training with Olympic team
By: Matt Long
Oak Ridge senior thrilled with opportunity
Kyle West is probably working as hard as he’s ever worked this week and yet he’s loving every minute of it. The senior wrestling star at Oak Ridge High is practicing with the Olympic wrestling team this week, as the team prepares to head to Beijing for the Summer Olympics next month. West, 17, is one of only a handful of wrestlers who have been invited to train with the team. West placed second in the 135-pound weight class during the California state wrestling tournament earlier this year and finished the season with a 46-2 record. “I’m excited to be training with the Olympic team,” West said. “These are the best wrestlers in the world and I hope to learn a lot. Only a certain caliber of wrestler gets invited to train with the team and it’s nice to be considered in that group.” West was invited to the camp by Derek Moore, the 2007 National Champion at 141 pounds from UC Davis now wrestling during his four-year tour with the Army. Moore is stationed in Colorado Springs, which is where the Olympic wrestling team is training. “I’ll be staying with him and training with the Olympic team,” West said. “I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I’m excited about it. “I’m going to try to soak up as much as a can, pick up what I can use and then destroy my opponents next wrestling season.” West said he’s not going to the camp with any particular goal in mind other than to pick up a few moves to add to his wrestling repertoire. “At this level I basically know all the moves, but here I’m going to find out better ways to do them so they can’t be stopped,” West said. West said the training will be hard core, but he’s psyched to be getting the opportunity. While he’s taken the summer off from competing, he’s still training every day, whether it's wrestling, running or weight lifting. “I’m already a lot stronger and faster than last year,” West said. “Our coach has scheduled a couple tougher tournaments for next season, including the Ironman Tournament in Ohio, which is one of the best in the nation and I want to win that.” West currently weighs in the 150- to 155-pound range, but by the wrestling season will likely compete anywhere from 135 to 145 pounds. The United States Freestyle Wrestling Team consists of Henry Cejudo (121 pounds), Doug Schwab (145.5), Ben Askren (163), Andy Hrovat (185), Daniel Cormier (211.5) and Steve Mocco (264.5). The Greco-Roman wrestling team is made up by Spenser Mango (121), Jake Deitchler (145.5), T.C. Dantzler (163), Brad Vering (185), Adam Wheeler (211.5) and Dremiel Byers (264.5). The Olympics begin Aug. 8 in Beijing, China and end on Aug. 24.