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Cavaliers learn from the champ

Lakeland’s wrestlers had heard many of the same things plenty of times before while on the mat.

It can renew and reinforce the same coaching and technique when they come from a different coach, though.

“And that’s definitely the case when you have a national champion showing you something,” said Lakeland head coach John Bostwick.

The Cavaliers hosted North Carolina State senior Derrion Caldwell and NCSU head coach Carter Jordan Friday and Saturday.

Caldwell was the 2008-2009 NCAA national champion in the 149-pound class. Caldwell, also a three-time ACC champion, redshirted last season and is headed into his senior season.

The Wolfpack head coach and his star pupil put a group of Cavaliers through plenty of paces on the mat Friday evening, but also included a couple brief lectures good for any young athlete or student to hear.

Jordan spoke about a recent prize recruit who was one of the top collegiate prospects on the mat. He had a scholarship offer from N.C. State, but he fell short of a minimum GPA and the NCAA academic standards.

“He missed out on a full scholarship basically because he was lazy in the classroom,” Jordan said.

Caldwell spoke about improving his academic habits since his high school days. When N.C. State and other colleges came calling because of his wrestling talent, he had to make up ground quickly in the classroom.

Without bringing his grades up and continuing good work at NCSU, he said, there would be no national championship, no degree and no prospects of being an international-level wrestler.

During the afternoon’s wrestling action, Jordan led the practice session, giving the Cavs the same basic fundamentals he expects of his Wolfpack wrestlers.

“When we work on our technique, we work on what will work against everyone. What we do has to work against the best in the world or against a kid in Suffolk,” Jordan said.

Caldwell energetically coached the group through a number of specific moves on the mat. The national champ demonstrated a technique step by step, then had the Cavs pair up to work on that move for a few minutes before going on to another lesson.

Jordan puts his college squad through 15-20 minutes of staying in and moving while in a proper wrestling stance. His wrestlers must be able to stay in a perfect stance for at least seven minutes at a time.

He put the Cavaliers through a long, tiring drill of movement and proper technique. When he said stop, he looked at his watch and said, “that was a minute and a half.”

Jordan and Caldwell led a camp open to kids from all schools Saturday at Lakeland. Bostwick and Jordan are working on having a series of Saturday camps during the fall.

Of course the Cavalier squad would benefit from such expertise. Jordan and N.C. State can gain a larger recruiting presence around Hampton Roads through the camps.