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Hatten’s passion is a boon for area wrestlers

Phil Sandoval

Brett Hatten has a dream and a passion.

He’s trying to rejuvenate wrestling in the valley.

And Hatten’s love of the sport and his training methods are starting to attract kids and adults throughout the valley.

Since moving to the area three years ago, Hatten’s breathed new life into stagnant middle school wrestling programs in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, increasing participation at both schools.

Another part of Hatten’s plan to ignite the sport has been the formation of the Rhino Wrestling Club.

Where wrestlers of all ages and both sexes can train year-round.

And there’s even more.

Along with a number of top clinicians to assist him, Hatten’s about to open the door to a free, three-day, youth wrestling camp, starting Thursday at the Brettleberg Condominiums at Sunlight Resort.

Wrestling mats will be placed in the Condominium’s lower parking lot.

“Wrestling is a sport for everybody,” said Hatten, who will direct the June 27-29 camp.

Hatten is a three-time freestyle world champion and is currently a member of the world veteran wrestling team.

He has coached the sport at the youth, middle, high school and club levels for three decades.

Currently Hatten is a bronze-level USA Wrestling certified coach.

He said all it takes to get a kid hooked on wrestling is getting them started.

Hatten said, “Wrestling is the most natural sport in the world. Kids roll around in the grass with each other all the time. All we have to do is make it fun.”

And his methods have been successful.

In his one-year stint as head wrestling coach at Glenwood Springs Middle School, Hatten produced three PEG League champions.

Moving to Carbondale Middle School after the 2000 season, Hatten concluded the 2002 season with three more PEG League champs.

Hatten has also been a leader in getting girls to go out for the sport.

He said 17 of the Rhino wrestling club’s 23 members are girls.

Hatten’s daughter, Heather, shares her father’s passion.

In April, at the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., Heather and Brett became the first-ever Father-Daughter combination to win national titles.

Heather Hatten is also the head coach of the women’s wrestling team at Adams State College in Alamosa-the only women’s wrestling program in Colorado.

Heather will be one of the clinician’s at this week’s camp at Sunlight.

She’ll be joined by former United States olympic wrestling gold medalist and U.S. champ Kevin Jackson and Matt Keller, a four-time Tennessee high school state champion, who currently wrestlers at the University of Nebraska.

The camp is broken down into two daily sessions.

Session 1 is from 9 a.m. to noon. Session 2 runs from 4-6 p.m.

Instruction will be offered in freestyle, Greco-Roman, and collegiate styles of wrestling.

Along with the daily sessions, Hatten will have a recreational period from noon-4 p.m.

Activities include open mat time with the clinicians, hikes up Sunlight Mountain, mountain biking and viewing of wrestling training and technique videos.

Donations will be accepted to offset the expense of bringing the clinicians to Glenwood Springs.

Call Hatten at 945-7421 or 947-1773 for more information on both the wrestling camp and the Rhino Wrestling Club.


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