Wrestling the Cowboy way

"It's kind of like a privilege being in this camp because you're working with one of the top programs in the country," said camper Matthew McCauslin, who will be entering ninth grade at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School in September.

Even three-time Section II champion Austin Meys of Shenendehowa said he felt privileged to be at the camp, which was co-run by Niskayuna-based Journeymen Wrestling.

"It's exciting," said Meys. "I look up to (Smith), and I hope to be him one day."

Journeymen founder Frank Popolizio equated the camp to having the New York Giants train in your backyard. "The only difference is we get to physically train with them," he said.

It took eight years for Popolizio to convince Smith to bring his wrestling camp to the region, but Popolizio said the payoff is huge for Journeymen.

"I think it's one of the top two biggest things we've been able to accomplish " the first being the Northeast Collegiate Duals," he said.

That's because Smith's camps offer younger wrestlers a taste of what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level. He brought some of his Oklahoma State wrestlers to Cobleskill, including former NCAA champion Zack Esposito.

"It's about giving back to the kids " to try to help younger guys out and become better on the mat," said Esposito, who now serves as a graduate assistant on Smith's Oklahoma State coaching staff.

"I don't give (my wrestlers) much choice" about being camp counselors, said Smith. "I tell them who's going, but it's a great opportunity for them. Although it benefits the kids, it helps them to verbally go over what they're doing and go through the fundamentals."

Fundamentals are at the heart of what Smith teaches his students. He breaks down each move to give them the technique necessary to pull it off.

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