Kyle Snyder walked into the the Sachem wrestling office early Wednesday and was immediately struck with a sense of history when he saw the photos of past camp instructors on the wall.
The annual Sachem camp, which began in 1984, has brought countless olympic, world and NCAA champions to Long Island to train and drill with youth wrestlers.
And in 34 years there hasn’t been anyone with better credentials than Snyder.
“It’s pretty cool,” Snyder said. “I’m amazed at the people they’ve been able to bring in here for this camp. They do a great job of promoting wrestling and developing the youth.”
The 22-year-old Ohio State alum is a three-time NCAA heavyweight champion and has two world championships and an Olympic gold medal at 97 kilograms (213 pounds) to his name. He’s the youngest world champion and Olympic gold medalist in American history.
“We always want to bring in the best for the kids,” camp director and former Sachem coach Jack Mahoney said. “Every chance we get to bring in a big name clinician we do. If we were a baseball camp we’d be going after Derek Jeter. We’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of the biggest names in the sport.”
Campers spent the early part of the day watching Snyder teach techniques before breaking off separately to drill. Later in the afternoon Snyder was able to give more hands on coaching to the older wrestlers at the camp.
“Teaching wrestling and just getting to be around these kids is the coolest thing,” Snyder said. “It wasn’t long ago I was at camps like this learning and I thought it was so awesome to be able to learn from different coaches.”
Snyder is preparing to defend his crown in October at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, but has taken time away from his training this summer to give back to the wrestling community.
“It’s pretty cool to learn from him,” Jared Weinhaus, who will be a freshman this year at Sachem East and finished third in Suffolk at 99 pounds, said. “Some of the stuff like the arm drag and ankle pick he was teaching is stuff I’ve never seen before.”
Snyder realizes the breadth of his accomplishments at a young age but won’t allow himself to do anything but look forward.
“I have the motivation to improve and I want to continue to grow and compete harder and harder,” he said. “I’ve always been competitive and believed in myself and thought about being the best at whatever I wanted to do.”