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California USA Wrestling breaks membership mark with 16,531 athletes



California USA Wrestling, the state association in California, has set an all-time record for membership from a state by going over the 16,000-athlete member mark for the 2004-05 USA Wrestling membership season.

This state association, under the leadership of state chairperson Duane Morgan of Hollister and a very active Board, has been the largest of USA Wrestling's state organizations for many years. There are more amateur wrestlers in California than any other state.

As of statistics on October 20, California's athlete membership for the 2003-04 year was 16,531 athlete members for the 2004-05 season, a new national records for a state association.

The previous record for state athlete membership was set by California during the 2003-04 membership year with 15,168 athlete members. That was the first year any state had more than 15,000 members, after four straight years that California was above the 14,000 member mark.

"We have a goal of 20,000 athlete members by the year 2010," said Morgan. "We are getting the message out, high and low. We are spreading the word. Our tournaments are getting better. We are spreading the mission of USA Wrestling. And we are going to keep doing it."

Morgan has high praise for the volunteers who work within the state to provide quality wrestling programs for wrestlers and their families.

"A lot of our membership success is because of our structure. We are split into associations, and every one has ownership of the process. They form our biggest base for members. The association takes ownership in their clubs, and visa versa. The associations believe that if they get more people involved in wrestling, it will strengthen all of the programs. It goes hand in hand. We also have a real structured season. From September to March is folkstyle, and then we go freestyle and Greco-Roman. We want to develop future Olympians. We want our athletes to have a wider experience and be more balanced wrestlers. That is also why we are successful," said Morgan.

"The California Association of USA Wrestling continues to contribute highly to the mission and goals of USA Wrestling," said Mark Scott, Director of State Services. "By setting a membership record in the category of athletes for a single State Association, this demonstrates the dedication and hard work of hundreds of volunteers who are devoted to the outstanding programs provided by USA Wrestling and California USA Wrestling. To register over 18,000 members, including coaches, in a year is something every USA Wrestling volunteer in the California State Association can be proud of. We will look forward to USAW/California breaking records again in 2006."
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