Local Wrestling Club strives for greatness

Maddie Clark, Contributor

“ I have always wanted to give back to the sport that gave me an opportunity in life and, if it wasn’t for wrestling, I would not be where I am today,”  said Jason Kleinschmidt, a wrestling coach for the Aviators Wrestling club.

Back in 2008, Kleinschmidt started the club and now has many wrestlers who train with the club. These wrestlers range from kindergarteners to high schoolers. The club began when Kleinschmidt moved jobs from coaching at Kaukauna to coaching at Appleton West. There were many kids who still wanted to continue to train with his knowledge and passion so he started Aviators Club. Aviators is an outside program, but many of the practices are held in the Appleton North wrestling room. Kleinschmidt commented, “In the beginning, it was a ‘no frills’ club where many kids were determined to be better, mentally and physically. I just wanted to bring in wrestlers and make them better by pushing to succeed on the mat and, ultimately, in life.”

Two of these wrestlers, Ian Laatsch and Brock Danielski, are Appleton North students who are on the wrestling team. Ian Laatsch is a freshman who started on the Varsity team and Brock Danielski is a sophomore who has been on the Varsity team for two years. Both wrestlers qualified for the WIAA Sectional tournament this year. There are many other high school level wrestlers that Kleinschmidt has coached and alumni that have gone on to be very successful in wrestling. One alumni, Kegan Gennrich, came back to help Kleinschmidt coach. Gennrich placed at state 3 times in his high school wrestling career and is currently a local MMA fighter.

High schoolers aren’t Kleinschmidt’s only connection to Appleton North. He is one of a few people that will help run the Appleton North Mat Madness Youth Wrestling Tournament Sunday March 6. The tournament is intended for Kindergarten through 8th grade age kids . Many Aviator wrestlers will be wrestling at this tournament, hoping to win high places and strengthen the Aviators’ name.

Why is the club called Aviators? “Aviators was first created as a Freestyle and Greco club which later morphed into all styles of wrestling.  With the name, it was about throwing other wrestlers as I was known as a thrower while I wrestled when I was younger and enjoyed teaching throws to wrestlers who came to the club.  That being said, when you throw someone they fly in the air.  So I came up with the name Aviators with throwing other wrestlers through the air like an aviator, “ said Kleinschmidt.

The club welcomes wrestlers that range from beginners to more advanced wrestlers. If you are interested in joining the club or want more information about wrestling, you can go to www.aviatorsfoxvalley.wix.com/aviators.