By JASON ELMQUIST
EDMOND — With Oklahomans in need, former Oklahoma State wrestler Tyrone Lewis does what he does best to help — wrestle.
The former All-American teamed with fellow former OSU All-American Hardell Moore to host “Wrestle For Moore,” a free youth wrestling clinic at the Oklahoma Wrestling Academy featuring wrestlers from the state’s major college programs as coaches.
With just three days notice, the clinic that included Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott from OSU, OU national champion Kendric Maple and Sooner coach Mark Cody saw approximately 70 kids show up for the morning session and another 50 kids attend the evening session.
“I thought there had to be something more I could do to get involved and get the wrestling community involved,” said Lewis, a volunteer assistant for the OU wrestling program who came up with the idea when dropping off a donation and a local television station for those affected by the tornado that hit Moore on Monday. “... Everybody I started calling was all about it. They told me to run with it and gave me all the support to do it. USA Wrestling supported the idea and we were able to bring together a great staff of athletes.”
The clinic to support the victims in Moore brought wrestlers from OU, OSU, University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University all to the same mat for the same cause. And with the selling of special shirts provided by Scott’s sponsors Cradle Gear, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist said the clinic raised approximately $10,000 from shirt sales — not to mention the mound of donations including water, Gatorade and toys.
“It’s the least we could do,” Scott said. “We’ve got OU, OSU, OCU and UCO wrestlers banding together here. It’s a good thing we’re doing here.”
Scott was accompanied by Cowboy wrestlers Blake Rosholt, who earned All-American honors this year. For Rosholt, a native of Ponca City, giving back to fellow Oklahomans was a no-brainer when approached by Scott about participating in the clinic.
“This is a great cause. It was tragic what happened down in Moore with the tornados with people losing family members and everything they own,” Rosholt said. “I definitely took full advantage of coming down here to help however I can for a great cause.”
Maple, who capped an undefeated season with an NCAA individual title for the Sooners, may not be a native of Oklahoman. But coming from Wichita, Kan., he knows how devastating tornados can be.
So the Sooner has been aiding both those affected in Moore, as well as Shawnee which was hit by a tornado Sunday. When given a chance to continue helping the cause through his sport, he took a break from the cities to work with the kids of Oklahoma — including some children from Moore who attended the clinic.
“I’m so impressed. You go to camps that have been planned for over a year that doesn’t see this well of a turnout,” Maple said. “It just shows Oklahoma is serious about wrestling and we’re a great family environment. It was a great time.”
Maple’s coach said he isn’t the only OU wrestler donating his time in the relief efforts in the state. Cody said his team was scheduled compete at a tournament in Ohio this weekend, and while several still traveled, many of the Sooners stayed home for a good cause.
“As soon as this disaster hit, we had guys go out and helped out where they could,” Cody said. “I didn’t really think about how we could help through our sport and sure enough they came up with a great idea to help the communities. We’re very excited to be a part of it.”
Oklahomans helping Oklahomans is nothing new. But getting the opportunity to help Oklahomans through one of the most influential sports in the state, it all just made sense.
“It’s what we know how to do to get some money and donations,” Scott said. “It also helps get some of these kids’ minds off of what’s been going on. ... This is nothing for us to run a little clinic and to be able to give back everything 100 percent.”