“We have a lot of guys who wrestled in college and were successful and want to continue in wrestling,” said team coach Ben Kjar, an All-American at Utah Valley University last year. “There were so many guys who wanted to have a team or club to be affiliated with it was pretty easy to put this together.”
Kjar will coach the Runnin’ Utes, but is not competing with the team due to his preparation for the 2012 Olympic trials. But it’s not like the club is empty of serious talent.
Kevin Clem, who competed as part of the Big 10’s Purdue said, “I wanted to give students at the U of U the opportunity to compete and wrestle! Many of us have had the taste of competition on the collegiate level and we want to still live our dreams of having the opportunity to win a national title.”
While Clem had the chance to wrestle in the best conference in the country, for others like Gre Einerson, the Runnin’ Utes will give him a chance to complete his unfulfilled goals.
“Since my college program, Portland State, was dropped in 2009, I have still had the inner desire to compete,” Einerson said. “I really hope that the U of U Wrestling Club will give me and others a second chance to compete at the collegiate level.”
Many college wrestling programs have been dropped due to finances and as a way to find a balance for Title IX. Such was the case at Utah and BYU.
So how good can a brand new wrestling club be along the Wasatch Front?
According to Kjar, with the people who are planning to be part of the club, don’t be surprised if the Utes take the national club scene by storm.
“I fully believe that if the wrestlers make the time and take the training seriously that we have a shot at winning a national championship,” Kjar said. “We are going to train hard and do what it takes to step on the scene and cause a ruckus.
“I don’t know of any other club team anywhere in the country that has a team as knowledgeable and experienced as we have here at Utah.”
Training will take place at Kingdom Klub on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m. and Saturday at West High from 12-2 p.m.
“The Saturday training will take place at Kingdom until West High completes its construction.” Kjar said.