Former central Nebraska wrestling greats unite for Northwest Tri-City Elite Camp

Local4 News at 10
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Northwest has hosted wrestling summer camps over the last several years, but never with as much star power for their featured counselors as Wednesday’s, which was tabbed the inaugural Tri-City Elite Camp.

Northern Colorado wrestling teammates Damen Pape and Dyson Kunz, each from Hastings and Central City, respectively, as well as Navy’s Grady Griess of Northwest are all former two-time NSAA State champions. Two-time State finalist and Northwest alum Collin Quandt also helped run the camp.

“It’s a lot of fun just getting to see all the kids that look up to me,” Griess said. “I just remember being their age and looking up to all the good wrestlers that I used to watch coming to duals in this gym and it’s been a lot of fun so far just to give back.

“It gives me a good feeling because I didn’t really expect too many people to be here, but it was a lot of fun seeing all of the community come together, get together and learn some moves and get better in the offseason.”

Kunz holds the Class C record for most career pins with 158. Griess is the Vikings school record-holder for pins in a single season. Between Griess, Kunz and Pape, there are only 29 career high school losses.

“That’s my favorite thing about wrestling, is just being able to give back because I know that I used to go to camps like this all the time when I was a younger wrestler and these were some of my favorite times,” Kunz said. “Being able to give back to a community that’s given so much to me, they’ve given me so many opportunities to do the sport that I love, it means the world to me.”

All four returned to central Nebraska to help run the two-day Elite Camp.

“It’s very special, especially for [Northwest’s coach] to bring us all together,” Pape said. “Been around Collin, Grady, Dyson my whole life, so it’s just nice that we can all group up and give back to little kids and kids in high school now. Summer wrestling is big. It’s where you’ll make the biggest jumps as a wrestler.

”It’s awesome, especially if they’re here smiling, having fun. I was asking some of the kids at the end if they were having fun and (they said), ‘Of course, of course.’ So, that puts a smile on my face. The biggest part is having fun, so just making sure that they’re having fun puts a smile on my face, that’s for sure.”

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