The Ceres Pups Wrestling Club will hold signups for the 2021-22 season this Sunday in downtown Ceres.
“Our goal is to create great athletes and productive citizens in our community,” said Steven Festa, program founder and president. “We’ve experienced tremendous growth our last six years but because of the pandemic our numbers have decreased. However, with the addition of our cheer team and the new facility, we hope our membership will continue to grow.”
Enrollment for wrestlers and cheerleaders, aged 7-13, will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the youth organization’s training facility at 3037 5th Street. There will be wrestling matches and cheer performances during signups.
Membership dues are $40 per month for both wrestling and cheerleading. Wrestlers are also required to pay a yearly USA membership fee of $65.
“Our goal is to enroll 20 wrestlers and 20 cheerleaders on September 19th,” Festa said.
The Pups House opened in February.
The previous tenant of the building was United Tae Kwon Do Center.
The revamped facility has 1,500-square-feet of training area.
“In light of the global pandemic, the facilities at Ceres High School and Mae Hensley Jr. High were no longer available, and in order for our Pups to maintain a sense of normalcy and to keep ties to our community, we decided to open our own facility,” Festa said.
“Over the course of six months, the coaches and members of the community donated their time to completely transform the facility into what it is today,” he added. “We purchased our first Pups practice mat, wall padding and added a full bathroom. Every inch of that space was touched by our volunteers.”
The 2021-22 Pups season begins on Oct. 1.
Wrestlers and cheerleaders will practice two to three times a week in the evenings.
The 2020-21 campaign got underway in February and ends on Sept. 30.
“At this time, we’re allowing up to 30 Pups and coaches training at any given time,” Festa said. “The Pups follow CDC and Stanislaus County COVID recommendations and guidelines.”
Ceres currently has six wrestling coaches and three cheerleading coaches.
The Pups’ wrestling coaches are Adam Borges, Tony Ormonde, Josh Swartz, John Alba, Austin Moore and Daniel McElwain.
Melissa Ruger, Ana Garibay and Luz Garibay coach cheer.
Festa founded the Ceres Pups Wrestling Club in 2015.
“Wrestling has changed my life because of the great coaches I had in my life growing up,” Festa said. “I always want to recreate the experiences I had and give those same opportunities to the next generation. Giving back and working hard is the only way! I’ve had the pleasure to coach in Ceres for the last 17 years with Mae Hensley, CHS and now the Ceres Pups.”