Inside Azarian Memorial Training Center, which is now home of Topper Wrestling Club, will have Greco-Roman wrestling and girls freestyle wrestling practices for Catholic Central High School students (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press)

Girls wrestling, international style coming to Catholic Central

By Mike Ramczyk

Kevin Bird, Bill Kahle and Greg Amborn were looking for a way to breathe some life into the fledgling Catholic Central wrestling program.

Sure, Greg’s son, Henry, took third at state last year as a freshman, but there were only four kids out for the program, not nearly enough to field an entire roster.

So the experienced wrestling coaches brought their brainchild, Topper Wrestling Club, to the school board along with Principal Bonnie Schultz, and the school loved the out-of-the-box way to drive enrollment and spark interest in a dormant school sport.

So starting this school year, the Topper Wrestling Club will offer girls a chance to freestyle wrestle and boys the opportunity to compete around the world by utilizing Greco Roman, international style.

“This has never been done,” Kahle said. “It will be a year-round club where kids can train internationally. Many schools wouldn’t do this, but Catholic Central has a principal who is willing to do this. It’s an attempt to boost the program. It’s beyond high school competition, kids can make world teams. The goals are as high as possible.”

Kahle, who lives in Franksville, coaches Henry Amborn and has coached and is a good friend of Bird. He has coached at the Ringers wrestling club out of Menomonee Falls.

Bird, Kahle and Kevin Bird love the sport of wrestling, and they wanted another avenue for kids, who usually tend to wrestle at Burlington and Waterford high schools, not Catholic Central.

“There’s been an explosion in women’s wrestling,” Greg Amborn said. “Why can’t we be the first? Traditionally, kids have gone to CC in spite of wrestling. Certain boys gravitate toward the Greco international style. No other high school is doing this.”

“It’s something to differentiate us from other schools. Kids will have a chance to explore something else, not the traditional high school path.”

Wrestlers will be able to train year-round and won’t have to worry about cutting weight constantly, according to Amborn.

Greg Amborn said freestyle and Greco Roman are more exciting styles than high school folk-style, which involves a lot of controlling the opponent and stalling, slowing down the action.

Greco Roman involves only the upper body, and grapplers can’t attack legs.

“The ‘home run’ of wrestling is the throw,” Kahle said. “In Greco, you can’t touch the legs, it’s all upper-body throws. It’s exciting to watch. It’s a fun sport.”

While there will be no more WIAA wrestling, which has the state tournament in February, the Topper Wrestling Club (TWC) will be heavily active from January to July, according to Kahle.

Peak season will be in April, when wrestlers will gear up for World Team trials.

Kahle said his son, Cael, and a few others will be transferring to Catholic Central for wrestling.

Greg Amborn envisions a few international trips for the club, and nationals will be in Fargo, North Dakota.

The guys are still trying to get the word out, and it will take some serious fundraising, but there has been a lot of interest and positive feedback.

“It’s an opportunity to expose kids to international competition,” Greg Amborn said. “It’s an ambitious goal, but one worth taking forward.”

The TWC wrestlers will train at the Azarian Memorial Training, also known as Higher Level wrestling, which is two blocks from Catholic Central High School.