Del Norte Youth Wrestling was one of the top 50 USA Wrestling clubs in the entire country in 2017, according to a notice and banner received by DNYW president and head coach Clinton Schaad on Monday morning.

Although the youth wrestling program has grown by leaps and bounds since Schaad took over the program in 2014, he said the honor took him completely by surprise.

“We won an award for a top-50 program in the country,” Schaad said. “We are pretty excited to be up in that top 50 as far as our numbers go, and that is based on membership and growth. That was a nice thing to get when I checked the mail this morning.”

Since Schaad took over the program in 2014, Del Norte Youth Wrestling has grown from 22 kids in his first season, to the gigantic 131-wrestler squad that the Warriors fielded in 2017. With a lot more wrestlers, DNYW has also expanded physically, and now offers four different practices, in three locations around the county every week.

According to its website, USA Wrestling charter’s more than 4,500 wrestling clubs every season, meaning that the Warriors are somewhere in the top 1 percent of all wrestling clubs in terms of participation and growth. That is especially impressive considering the size of the community that Del Norte Youth Wrestling serves.

“I think it speaks a lot about the overall program, the board working well together, and all the different coaches taking each group,” Schaad said. “We have been able to grow the program from 22 in my first year to officially 131 last year. It is quite a bit of growth, and it’s been good to be able to have returning wrestlers. It is one thing to have someone come out, not like an activity, and quit. But they keep coming back, and they are bringing in their friends, their cousins and their brothers and sisters.”

Schaad said most of the youngsters that first join the team do not know much about the sport initially, but many of them have grown to love it after giving it a try.

“People enjoy it,” Schaad said. “They don’t know a lot about it, but when they come out, participate, and come to practice the end up having a really good time and they stick it out. We are hoping that that continues.”

Del Norte Youth Wrestling is currently in the process of signing up wrestlers for the 2018 season. After three in-person sign up dates, Schaad estimated that the program has about 95-100 wrestlers already signed up, but there is plenty of room for more to join.

“We would like another 95 to 100, just bring the kids in,” Schaad said. “Once they get in and start practicing they get to know the coaches and see the fun that we do have and they enjoy it.”

The last scheduled in-person sign up will take place on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crescent Fire Building, located at 255 W Washington Boulevard.

The registration fee is $96 for the season. New members must bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate to registration.

Contact Cheyenne Schaad with questions, or for more information. Schaad can be reached by phone at 707-954-4154, or by email at delnorte.youthwrestling@gmail.com .

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