‘Beyond the Mat’ camp teaches wrestlers to succeed outside of athletics
O’NEILL, Neb. — Students across Nebraska are attending athletic camps to hone their skills in their sport.
In the Irish capital of Nebraska, Wyatt Turnquist and the Leprechaun Wrestling Club hosted a wrestling camp at O’Neill High School called "Beyond the Mat."
Turnquist, an NCAA qualifier at Northern State University and an All-American, said the camp teaches more than the technique of wrestling.
“You come to this camp, and I want you to become a better wrestler, but I think the main goal is to make them a better person because that’s what matters at the end of the day,” Turnquist said.
The camp honors former O’Neill and Northern State wrestler Caden Moore who died by suicide in November 2021.
Turnquist talked about the impact Moore had on his life and what the camp means to him.
“I think now for me, it’s kind of just like carrying on what he instilled in me and trying to live life the way he did,” Turnquist said.
Jesse Moore, Caden Moore’s father, talked about what the camp is about and how the instructors help the students off the wrestling mat.
“You’re seeing the positive messaging around, you know, being a great teammate, things that happen off the mat, in the mat,” Jesse said. “What happens in the classroom [and] what happens as we move forward.”
According to Jesse, his son came up with the name and camp three years ago and wanted to teach kids about what sports provide aside from the wins and losses.
He added how the camp has seen growth from 25 to 30 kids in the first year to an attendance of 80 this year.
Northern State wrestling coach Rocky Burkett helped with the camp on Tuesday, and he talked about his experience coaching Turnquist and Caden Moore.
“Their [Caden and Wyatt’s] leadership skills and their impact on our program, as far as the culture that our guys have for the love for each other and friendships and the want to make Northern State great,” Burkett said. “Those two were two of the key members who helped us turn the program around.”
While the camp has only been held for three years, Jesse Moore believes the camp can only grow and is excited to see what the future holds for the camp.
“There’s so many different opportunities to bring in, you know, Olympians who were former teammates and kids competing at the highest level in college,” Jesse said. “To expose that here in northeast Nebraska and bring kids together, it’s really, really exciting. So, I’m excited to see what ideas they come with and where this thing can evolve.”
Proceeds from the camp benefits the “You Make an Impact” Foundation Scholarship in honor of Caden Moore.