Connecting all areas of New York wrestling is something NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg has talked about from the first day the organization started.
He believes another significant step has been taken toward that goal with the recent development of a NYWAY Long Island regional board.
“We’ve been looking to bring a new level of connectedness to the state,” Wattenberg said. “One of our main agenda items over the past year has been developing boards in all the regions around New York. This board in Long Island is bringing together some great people and will build upon the collaboration between upstate and downstate.”
Taking charge of the new board is Gary Redding, who is involved in youth sports as the Director of Middle Country girls lacrosse.
“Gary is really motivated and has a great understanding of youth sports and the educational component of wrestling,” Wattenberg said. “He understands what youth sports can provide kids to support their growth.”
Redding said he got involved partially because of the experience he had with the organization last year.
“I did the NYWAY state tournament with my son and I thought it was phenomenal,” he said. “The way they ran it was great – with the right idea that it’s about the kids. Everyone wants to have a unified, true state tournament with participation from everywhere and if NYWAY can facilitate that, that’s great. I want to help Long Island be a big part of that.”
For this year, Redding said he is looking to solidify the board, which currently includes five members and another five or six who are “Friends of the Board.” The hope is to have one or two tournaments on Long Island this year and continue to build that number over time.
In the short term, Redding is excited to work toward strong Nassau and Suffolk involvement in the major NYWAY events this year.
“We’ve already started putting together our dual team for the NYWAY Kickoff in late December,” he said. “We anticipate having a lot of kids at the Kickoff events, the regional qualifier (especially because it shouldn’t conflict with the Freestyle and Greco states this year) and the state tournament.”
Having a lot of kids at events all over New York is something NYWAY is hoping to encourage with a new initiative.
“We’re doing something different this year that’s very simple but could make a world of difference,” Wattenberg said. “We’re enabling any wrestler to enroll in NYWAY development tournaments (which does not include the Kickoff, state qualifiers or state championships) without being a NYWAY member. Both NYS wrestlers without a NYWAY membership and out of state wrestlers can simply register for tournaments through our website nyway.org for a day-insurance fee ($5 for NYS and $2 for out-of-state). We’re looking to reduce barriers to participation and to provide opportunities rather than force people to choose one organization over another. Once we get young wrestlers and families in the door, we are confident that the expanding opportunities and consistency of these experiences will help retain and grow participation in the sport we all love.”
Wattenberg also noted that NYWAY regional boards across the state are continuing to build and welcome input. Other Regional Directors/Contacts:
Capital: Michael LaPorte- firstname.lastname@example.org
Central: Mel Cutrie- email@example.com
Far Western- Kevin Lucinski- firstname.lastname@example.org
Hudson Valley: Jeff Jones- email@example.com
Long Island: Gary Redding- firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern: Randy Morrison- email@example.com
Southern Tier: Kent Maslin- firstname.lastname@example.org
Western: Adam Burgos- email@example.com
Some Key NYWAY Dates for 2013-14
Kickoff Classic Dual Team Tournament, December 28 (SUNY Sullivan)
Kickoff Classic Individual Tournament, December 29 (SUNY Sullivan)
State Tournament, March 15-16 (Onondaga County Community College)
For more information on NYWAY, see NYWAY Flyer Year 3 Update(1)