Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Basehor Athletic Association to offer wrestling

October 23, 2002

Those parents who desire to have their children learn the ins and outs of choking, kicking, clawing and domination now have a place to take them.

As crazy as it may sound, it's true.

And now, children of all ages will have the opportunity to learn wrestling from Travis Phippen, the 2000 World Pankration Champion in Ultimate Fighting.

Although Phippen said he won't teach his wrestlers any of the moves that made him an Ultimate Fighting champion, he said he couldn't wait to get Basehor's youth wrestling program started.

Along with help from the Basehor Athletic Association, Phippen is bringing back a youth wrestling club to Basehor.

The club will be open to children ages 5 to 18 and it will cost $45 per wrestler.

The money will be used to cover the childrens' insurance costs as well as tournament fees and uniforms.

Phippen, a collections manager at CityBank, will volunteer his time and will not be paid.

In doing so, Phippen said he hopes to advance the popularity of a sport he has loved for years, while also breeding quality citizens and boosting the success of the wrestling program at Basehor-Linwood High School.

Phippen is a 1993 graduate of Santa Fe Trail High School, where he was a state champion in wrestling. From there, he went on to wrestle at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kan., where he was a juco all-american. And from there, he went on to San Francisco State University, where he was an NCAA all-american and a member of a national championship wrestling team.

After college, Phippen decided to get into Ultimate Fighting and he continues to dabble in the business today.

Three months ago he participated in a fight at the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas.

Clearly, Phippen's resume is impressive, and BAA program director Jeremy McDowell said that was one of the main things the association liked about him.

"He's a real good guy. He really likes kids and he's obviously got the qualifications," McDowell said. "Our goal is to give him a hand in getting a quality wrestling program started in Basehor."

In recent years, Basehor has had a youth wrestling program. However, several factors, including lack of interest, led to its demise.

Once the program in Basehor folded, children who were interested in wrestling were forced to travel to Tonganoxie or Bonner Springs to participate. McDowell said a lot of times that was too far to go and thus the area lost a lot of potential wrestlers.

But with Phippen on board, McDowell said he sees a bright future for Basehor wrestling.

"This is another piece of the puzzle for us," McDowell said. "Our goal is to provide the opportunity for kids to play whatever sport they like. Besides that, when you don't have a youth wrestling program, the high school loses out."

Phippen said he is most excited about building relationships with children. But he is also excited about improving the community's wrestling.

"I know I wouldn't be where I'm at in my life without the support of some of my coaches in the past," Phippen said. "So this is my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so much."

Phippen said he hopes to finalize plans this week and he will begin sending out registration forms next week.

Preliminary sign up will begin Nov. 18, and Phippen said the program will take as many wrestlers as possible.

For more information about the program, contact Phippen at (913) 724-2915, or McDowell at (913) 980-4111.

You can also visit the BAA Web site at www.baasports.org to obtain a registration form.

Practices are expected to begin Dec. 2.

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