Sept. 30, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming wrestling program announced its wrestling club had been certified as a regional training center by USA Wrestling.
Known as the Cowboy Wrestling Club, the program already had been established as a charter wrestling club by USA Wrestling. The Cowboy Wrestling Club is based out of the UniWyo Sports Complex.
The certification allows Olympic hopefuls at any age group to train in Laramie to compete in international competitions.
"There's a lot more we can do by being a certified Regional Training Center," Wyoming wrestling coach Mark Branch said. "That gives us the ability to work with athletes who aren't alumni. We can have world-class athletes come in and train. It also allows us to work with up-and-coming Olympic hopefuls. It gives us more credibility and a broader scope of what we can do, training-wise."
Branch said the distinction of being named a regional training center shows that UW is trying to grow wrestling at all levels, but specifically that "we're serious about the Olympic movement."
"It shows we have big plans for the future," Branch added. "We're going to be equipped to keep those kids here and train full-time. It can be a real big benefit to have those guys as a part of our program."
USA Wrestling has worked with the top collegiate programs in the country to establish regional training centers on campuses across the nation. It's part of a broader goal to help the US in international competition.
"We hope to take the kids that we're producing, and when their college careers are over, give them the opportunities they need to compete for world and Olympic teams," Branch said. "It's a collective effort across the country to really strengthen American wrestling.
"This is just another step so that we can do our part to try to give people opportunities to train and to try to recognize the top talent coming up through the youth level."
Wyoming had to endure an application process in order to receive the status, including having USA Wrestling-certified coaches in the program. The move also allows Wyoming Wrestling to work closely with the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"First and foremost, our priority is to provide opportunities for our graduating seniors," Branch said. "It definitely is going to give us a lot of exposure to athletes and also give us the opportunity to give exposure to our program and coaching staff and athletes to the country."
The Wyoming Regional Training Center is one of 16 sites throughout the nation.
"USA Wrestling is excited with the development of the Wyoming Regional Training Center," said Rich Bender, executive director of USA Wrestling. "We are confident that this program will have a profound impact on wrestling in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region.
Mark Branch is recognized as one of the top wrestling coaches in America and we are fortunate that he and his staff will positively impact wrestlers from youth level to the Olympic level through this training center."