The Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club was founded in 1982 at a series of meetings held by various people from several communities. The goal was to improve wrestling in many of the small school districts that made up the Tri-Valley League and other schools in the Utica area. Al Goris and Dick Stanton became the initial proponents of the idea. They were joined by others, including Don McGee, George Peavey, Jim Sweeney, Ken Lowe, Rocky DiVeronica,John Costello, Don New.
The club was officially sanctioned through the AAU and set to begin practices in 1983. Al Goris, a business owner in Vernon, became the first president,with co-founder Dick Stanton, treasurer. They contacted Gene Mills, of Syracuse University, who agreed to become the head coach. That first year registration was held and 47 wrestlers signed up representing 8 communities.
Practices are held in Oneida at the old High School. By the middle of the initial season, the club moves to the present High School to allow for more practice space. Gene, along with the board make a decision to only instruct Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. At the end of the season, several members of the Club travel to Albany, to compete in the only AAU Freestyle tournament held in New York that year.
The club remains at Oneida for the second year. To seek astronger schedule and organization to work with, the Board decides to leave the AAu and join the new USA Wrestling Federation. Registratin for 1984 exceeds 100. New members come from the Syracuse area, as the Club's reputation grows. The wrestlers compete in more tournaments held by the USAWF. For the first time, several of the Clubs better wrestlers Qualify for a USA team that travels to Argentina fo the Junior Pan Am Games.
The club moves to Canastota for practice. A new president Jim Sweaney of Chittenango takes the leadership role. The Club's membership now approaches 200. Jim brings organization to the group, with strong agreements with schools for the club's future, and a written constitution,with strong guidelines for the future. Participaton with USA wrestling is established, with the club particiapating in tournaments almost every weekend. The Mohawk Valley International festival is established. For the First time the Club hosts a foriegn team: The Canadian Ontario All Provincial team.
Canastota is still the home for the year. The membership is now at 200. Wrestlers travel from Cooperstown and even Watertown to participate.The club travels to Pennsylvania and to New England, to seek competition. Members of the club also Compete at the nationals. The club with about 35 Cadet and Junior wrestlers travel to Toronto to wrestle an area all-star team. They win almost every match.
Chittenango is now the home for the club completing the 3 school rotation. The clubs status in New York is that of being the best Club in the State. They host The New York Kids Cadet Champiomships at Syracuse University. The club is also invited to send a team to Canada to represent the USA at the World Youth Championships in Collingwood ONtario, one of 5 national teams. The biggest achievement of the year is the first European trip to Holzgerlingen Germany.
Still at Chittenango. Don McGee becomes the Club's third president The club contiues its strong relationship with Canada by travelling to Scarborough Ontario for a major event. The club also hosts our friends from Holzgerlingen Germany. This relationship remains the closest and most rewarding friendship that MVWC has established in its history.
The reputation grows. The club is back at Oneida. A team from Nurnberg, SV Johannis visits. We continue traveling throughout the eastern United States and Canada for competition. The second European trip takes place to Hungary-Austria. While in Europe the club wrestles a team from Budapest, Isreal and Vienna. An important addition to the coaching staff takes place with the arrival of all American and national team member Jim Hall, who brings Greco-Roman wresling to the Club.
The club travels to Puerto Rico for the first time. This begins a long relationship of visits to the Island, and brings many new friends. Canada invites MVWC to compete in the Canadian National Junior Championships in Quebec. Out of 10 weight classes The Club has 6 finalists. Olympian Chris Campbell joins the club as another outstanding coach.
An ambitious year. The trip to Europe, is to visit our friends in Holzgerlingen, Germany. While there, the club also travels to Nurnberg. Through USA wrestling the club receives an invitation to Compete in the World Junior festival held in Alma Quebec. Competing against National teams and 4 state teams, our Club team places second to the Canadian National team by 1 point. At the Syracuse War Memorial we host the Soviet National team, with club coaches Chis Campbell and Jim Hall competing for team USA.
Based on the performance in Alma, the club returns to Canada to the Cadet- Junior National championships in Quelph, Ontario. Again we are the only USA team invited. The International trip is to Puerto Rico, where a small tournament is held at the Olympic training center. The club hosts the combined New York State Kids-Cadet Championships at Manley Field House, over 1000 wrestlers compete.
A new country is added to the list of International trips. The club travels to Denmark and Sweden. Great competitions are held in both countries. This year also continues a long relationship with the Super-Six club of Buffalo-Niagara Falls. We attend their first tournament held at SUNY Buffalo with about 100 wrestlers. The club wins the Club Cup for the fifth consecutive year, firmly establishing it as New York's premier club.
Back to Puerto Rico with another successful trip. Our friends from Holzgerlingen returns to the United States, to renew the special friendship. The Club also competes at the Ocean State Festival in Rhode Island for the first time. We place 2nd in Greco and 3rd in Freestyle, but will return in future years and establish MVWC as the dominant club.
Our friends in Holzgerlingen again host the club. We wrestle, make bread, celebrate Easter, and have agreat time. While in Germany we visit a new club SC Nurnberg 04, who take us to the prestigious Langenlohenshiem Senior tournament,where we finish a respectable 4th out of 23 teams, with our Junior wrestlers. The club hosts the Fredicksvaerk team from Denmark. Girls wrestling becomes a part of the club under the guidence of Larry Wormald. A return to the Ocean State Festival brings a first in Greco and a third in freestyle.
Puerto Rico is the site of one of the club's top performances,with a Championship at the Copa Humaco tournament. This is an Olympic year and Jason Gleasman, who started with the club at age 14, makes the Olympic team and competes in Atlanta. We retun to Rhode Island and win both styles at the Ocean State Festiaval.
The club returns to Denmark, visiting our friends at Heros Wrestling Club. We also travel to newly free Estonia for training and a competition in Viljandi. At the Ocean State Festival the club repeats the '96 results with 2 firsts. Practicing at Canastota this year the club maintains a membership of about 230 wrestlers.
With the Greco program of the club firmly established, a trip to the Netherlands is made to compete in a Greco only tournament in Utrecht. Both our Girls and Boys compete with Good results. The Girls go on to Germany to Dormagen and the boys travel to Brussels. We host The Helsinki Club from Finland,who we had met in Estonia, they travel with us to Rhode Island. In October the club also hosts a girls team from Germany-Norway. The Northeastern Kids-Cadet tournament is held successfully in Syracuse,sponcered by the club.
THE TRIP! USA wrestling said it could not be done. A team had not gone in over 10 years. Mohawk Valley goes to China. We wrestle their National team and the Beijing Club team. A great experiance, with the club opening China for USA wrestling, who now send several teams a year. The Heros club of Denmark visit for the second time. The club continues it normal schedule ending yearly with the Empire State Games. Normaly over 50% of the central region team (sec3&4) is made up of MVWC members.
The Club begins the new century with an ambitious schedule. The practises are at Chittenango, and the Club has its' biggest membership ever. 322 active members sign up. The club employs its' largest coaching staff. It certifies 24 Bronze level coaches, the most of any club in the state. WE ARE TOO BIG!!! The season goes forward with many successes: a return to Ocean States with another win,competition at the Canadian Greco Nationals, and other numerous tourney wins. We travel to visit our friends in Holzgerlingen, another GREAT time in Germany. We stop in Iceland on the return and wrestle "Glima". Zolton Szoltanois, comes late in the year as a guest coch. In June our friends from HPM Helsinki, Finland come for a visit.
Back to Canastota for practices. This year the numbers are held down to a manageable 220. The "mighty Zolton" from Hungary joins us full time as a coach, another Olympian added to the staff. Jouni Rosenlof, from Finland comes to train and study in the USA. The schedule is less hectic than in 2000. We again compete in Canada, with success at the Greco Nationals. The International trip is to Puerto Rico,in the Spring. The Club hosts a team from Izmir Turkey in the summer.
The 20th year for the Club. A reunion is held in Vernon, with well over 100 past wrestlers and their families attending. People came, who were in the club in the original year. Great Fun! The year is a busy one. The club attends the Canadian High School Nationals in New Brunswick. We actually win the Cadet divisions and upper division Greco tournament, however we waive all championship recognition in favor of Canadion teams. The overseas trip is to Finland and Estonia, with a young team, we win all the dual meets and compete in the Finlandia Cup open tournament. Our friends from Holzgerlingen arrive in May for the semi-annual gathering. Many parties, many memories,untill the next meeting in 2004. In October the Club returns to Puerto Rico and wins the High School (FILA Cadet) division at the Copa Sparta tournament ,in Aquadilla.
As the club enters its 3rd decade,it still maintains an agressive schedule. The European trip is to the Utrecht Greco tournament in the Netherlands. This was the year of the Iraq WAR. Needless to say Americans were not too popular in Europe that spring. At the tournament a strong alliance was forged for the duration, with the MVWC team and the British National girls team. They were inseperable.for the 3 days. The normal schedule also had the popular Niagara Falls trip to the Super 6 event and participation in Montreal at the Montreal International. The Empire State Games Scholastic division is again won by the Central region in both styles. Over 50% of the team are MVWC members. The annual return to FUN-IN-THE-SUN, in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, occurs in October to end the season.
We practice at Chittenango, with just over 200 wrestlers. The season progresses as normal with major trips to Niagara Falls, for Super Six and Montreal for the International. The Club is Invited to New Jersey for a Team club Championship. The MVWC team completely dominates, with many of New Jersey's High School Champs and Freestyle National team members going down to defeat. In perhap one of the clubs best matches ,they defeat a highly regarded and talented Shamrock Club to maintain the NYS Club Cup. The International trips are again to Germany and Puerto Rico. The trip to Holzgerlingen may be one of the best trips ever. Wrestling was great,with the team winning the 2 dual meets. The social aspect, the touring, and the great time with our special hosts are difficult to describe. you had to experiance it. This years participation at the Empire State Games was down, even though the Central region wins again.
Canastota is the site for practices and the annual Mohawk Valley International Festival, which has become one of the Northeasts biggest events. Many Canadian as well as all the top wrestlers in New York compete. The club again wins at Super Six and Montreal, but loses the Freestyle Club Cup to Shamrock. We have a great International trip to Turkey and experiance a completely differant culture. Our Turkish host treat us like Royalty. It was VIP treatment everywhere we went. The wrestling matches were tough, but fairly set up. Turkey is justifiably proud of its long wrestling heritage. For the Empire Games, MVWC members againmake up over 50% of the team, which wins both Freestyle and Greco.
Practices are at Chittenango. The club continues to run successfully with many of the same events remaining intact. Sadly this was the last year for the Ocean States Tournament. We are unable to attend as it is in August. We host the team from Holzgerlingen and is great fun as always. We even do some "Beach Wrestling" at Sylvan Beach. The main trip overseas is to China for the second time. Competition is very good as expected. What a change in China since the clubs initial trip, a lot of the city was unrecoginizable.Of course the Olympics were to be held 2 years later and you could feel the excitement.
This is to be the 25th year for the club. We are at Canastota for practice and it is again host for the prestigious Mohawk Valley International. Priorities change rapidly. Club member Dan Minton is seriously injured at the tournament. All thoughts of the organization change to support Dan, as he works to recover. A celebration party turns in to a Fund raiser. Danny fortunately progresses far beyond what was expected by his doctors and walks into a practice late in the season. The International trip is To Netherlands, for the Utrecht Tournament. We are joined in the Cabins in the woods with our friends from Holzgerlingen, Germany. In Puerto Rico, in October, the Club again wins the High School division, Dan Minton serves as an athlete-coach.
Chittenango provides the practice site for the club. The club has a rather mello year with the schedule remaining almost the same as previous years with established events. The clubs highlight is a return to HolZgerlingen to our second home in Gemany. This trip is really a reunion for a strong wrestling family of MVWC an KSV wrestlers. The relationship is now involving a second generation. Concluding the season is the annual NYS Fair event and areturn to Puerto Rico where we again win the Cadet(High School division)
Back to Canastota. The Clubs membership numbers have begun to go down. The days of 200 registered wrestlers seem to a thing of the past. Many local communities have set up small groups, training only in Folkstyle during the "off season". MVWC still draws many of the top wresters in the area and remains a strong force in freestyle-greco wrestling as well as continueing to provide a training site for many sectional champs. The season has the club returning to Turkey where wrestlers are treated as heros. The wretling as always is great, the cultural touring is tops and our Turkish friends outstanding hosts. This is one of the premier trips that the club takes. The club also competes again at the Annual Canada Cup in July. the tournament involves most of Canadas National Team members as well as several foriegn teams. Our club members alwayplace several wrestlers in this prestigious event.
The economy in the USA is in a downturn as the club practices at Chittenango. Membership is at about 130, still one of the largest USA clubs in the state. The Mohawk valley International draws well at Canastota to begin the season. For the first time in several years the club does not travel to Europe or Asia. To fill in a trip is made to New Jersey-Philadelphia for matches with New Jersey wrestlers and a tour of the city of Philadelphia. It turns out to be a good trip wrestling wise and a fun time in the city. We also host The Beat-the-Streets Group from New York City for a competition at Corcoran HS. The Highlight of 2010 is hosting our friends from Holzgerlingen, Germany. What a great week!