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Grapplers attend University of Iowa camp
Ceres High's Curtis Hulstine, Keegan Overbey, Brian Naylor, Wesley Schwieger and Jordan Apodoca felt a sense of accomplishment upon returning home from the Brands-Gable University of Iowa Wrestling Training Camp on July 19.

"It was not easy," Hulstine said. "Each day, you're fighting your body. You don't want to wimp out."

Added Overbey: "They pushed us to the limit. The intensity level was crazy."

Hulstine, Overbey, Naylor, Schwieger and Apodoca were among the 240 kids that lived and breathed wrestling for 12 straight days (July 5-16).

"There was a lot covered in a short period of time," said Bulldog assistant Steve Festa, who attended the coaching portion of the camp along with Ceres High leader Jon Nowicki. "They preached what we already instilled: hard work, determination and focus."

Participants were split into groups with daily schedules consisting of morning runs around campus and inside the basketball arena, afternoon technique and combats sessions, and evening talks with coaches.

"The kids did great," Festa said. "They all completed the camp, which is an accomplishment in itself. When we were done practicing, the mats were puddled with sweat. I'm hoping next year we can do this as a team."

"It was pretty tiring," said Overbey, who trained in Iowa 165-pound wrestler Ryan Morningstar's group. Morningstar finished in third place at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Hulstine, Overbey, Naylor, Schwieger, Apodoca and the rest of the campers visited with 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable during their down time.

Gable was a great competitor and coach.

University of Iowa posted a 355-21-5 record, claimed 15 NCAA titles, captured 21 Big Ten crowns and produced 152 All-Americans during his tenure.

Gable won 118 of 119 matches while wrestling at Iowa State. The three-time All-American and Big-8 champion took first at the NCAA Championships twice.

Gable finished 64-0 and won three state titles at the prep level in Iowa.

Hulstine didn't hesitate to ask for an autograph.

Gable penned his signature on five shirts, a bag, a water bottle and a magnet.

"We got to walk through his house," Hulstine. "There was memorabilia everywhere. He'd tell us stories. It was pretty amazing. I couldn't believe I was there. I felt special."

"He had gold medals on the wall," Overbey said. "It was pretty sick."

"He was so down to earth and real easy to talk with," Festa said. "He shared a lot of experiences. I had goose bumps."

Under current head coach Tom Brand's leadership, University of Iowa captured the 2009 NCAA and Big Ten titles.

"I got a whole different view of wrestling now," said Hulstine, who received instruction from Hawkeye grapplers Dan LeClere and Montell LeClere. "The whole experience was great. It was a lot of fun. We're bringing back everything they do."

"I definitely believe it's going to have a positive effect on our team," Festa said.

"It's going to make us so much better next year," Overbey said.

Hulstine posted a 40-8 record during his junior campaign at Ceres High. The Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet qualifier (2-2 at 112 pounds) finished second at the Division IV and Valley Oak League championships. During the regular season, Curtis placed first at Bear Creek, Ceres High, Sheldon and Stagg, and fourth at the Big Valley Classic (Stockton) and Coast Classic (Scotts Valley) events.

Overbey won one of three matches at Masters, finished fifth at Divisionals (3-2) and took second in league while competing at 130 pounds.

Naylor (119 pounds) finished sixth at Divisionals and third in league.

Schwieger (103 pounds) placed sixth at Divisionals and fourth in league.