Mat Monsters, the Quincy-based youth wrestling program, is open to kindergarten through eighth-grade boys and girls.
The children are coached by Dustin Vert. Assistant Coach for the “Monsters” is Russell Nickerson. This is the fourth year the transitional program has been running and it currently has 32 wrestlers.
“This program and coach are amazing!” said parent Nicole Sigle. “They travel to about five tournaments a year and have gone from hoping to place 3rd to placing 1st and winning ALOT of matches and medals.”
Approximately half of the wrestlers participating in the program attend tournaments. The weekend of March 24, the Mat Monsters brought 16 wrestlers to compete in Fall River Mills.
“My son is in his third year with the program and has learned much more than wrestling,” said Sigle. “This is a sport like no other and one of the greatest experiences we have had as a family. I have watched the coaches and kids work super hard for three years and I feel like the community doesn’t even know about them.”
The last tournament for the season was held March 31 in Bieber. The group celebrated with an awards potluck dinner on April 2 at the Quincy Veterans Memorial Hall.
“It’s amazing to watch these kids grow. It’s more than just their wrestling skills, but also life skills. Team building, discipline, self worth, mental preparation and desire to be better,” said coach Vert. “We aren’t coaching them to be in the Olympics tomorrow, we don’t know where they will end up in the sport of wrestling, but we do know one thing and that is these kids will become teenagers, then young adults, then adults in our community.”
Vert added, “It’s way more important to give direction in the way of wrestling that will mold them into good people for their own future.”
Vert takes pride in being able to provide a place for the children to go and grow in a healthy way. “It is an amazing thing to be a part of, and it doesn’t matter if there are 50 in the program or one, our ultimate goal is still the same,” said Vert.
This year, the young ones competed in four tournaments: Alturas, Chester, Fall River and Big Valley. “We had 33 kids participate in our program this year; 19 kids participated in tournaments and three years ago when we started this program we had four kids,” said Vert.
During competitions this season, young Ty Vert set a team record with 20 wins. “This was also our first year moving youth wrestlers into our high school program,” said Vert. The first two Mat Monsters that transitioned into the high school program for 2017-18 were Devin Vert with 26 wins and 20 loses and Russell Nickerson with 40 wins and 10 loses.
Keep an eye out for these bright young athletes in the future and around our Quincy community.