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NCAA Championships week opens with NCAA YES Clinic and World Championships Tour of Legends



The NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships kicked off on Tuesday night with the annual YES Clinic, a youth wrestling clinic and education program sponsored by the NCAA which featured many of the best coaches in the sport. In addition, the 2001 World Wrestling Championships kicked off its Tour of Legends program with an appearance by a number of star international wrestlers who signed autographs and met hundreds of young wrestlers and their families. The YES Clinic for wrestling included up to 320 young people from the Iowa City area, according to Patrick Feeley of the NCAA. This annual clinic is held for young people at about 20 different national championship events each year. "Wrestling historically has the greatest turnout of all of the clinics we do," said Feeley. "It is done on a volunteer basis by the coaches. They are the heart of the program. This is the premier community outreach program which includes student-athletes and coaches." Among the top coaches, who also brought a student-athlete to assist in the instruction were: Brian Smith (Missouri), Wayne Baughman (Air Force), Lee Roy Smith (Arizona State), Duane Goldman (Indiana), Jack Spates (Oklahoma), Carl Poff (Lock Haven), Joe McFarland (Michigan) and J Robinson (Minnesota). National calibre freestyle star Wes Hand, a former star at Iowa, ran a conditioning session. Local radio personality Morrie Adams conducted a life skills session, and Mary Curtis ran a sports science session for parents. Olympic champion and coach Dan Gable was the moderator of the event, and assisted in its presentation. Gable told the hundreds of young wrestlers that they could improve if they believe in themselves. "If you listen and you believe, you will perform well," said Gable. The young athletes received a free t-shirt and moved from station to station, learning important wrestling moves and advice from the coaches and special guests. The Tour of Legends, a new program designed to promote the World Championships to the wrestling community across the nation, was included by the NCAA in the program. Making athlete appearances as part of the Tour of Legends were a number of star members of Freestyle Team including Lincoln McIlravy, the 2000 Olympic bronze medalist. Other top stars appearing at the Tour of Legends included Joe Williams, who was fourth in the 1999 World Championships, Eric Akin, who was a member of the 1999 World team, as well as Dan Gable, a three-time Olympic coach and an Olympic champion. Hundreds of young wrestlers received autographs from the athletes, getting signatures on photo cards, t-shirts, hats and other items. It provided the young participants with a chance to meet their Olympic heroes. In addition, families were able to sign up for a drawing for four gold passes and hotel accommodations in New York City for the World Championships, which are set for September 26-29 in world famous Madison Square Garden. The team are arriving and the fans are flooding the city. Its appropriate that the 2001 NCAA Div. I Championships should begin with a community service activity celebrating the sport for its youth.
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