5/15/2013 8:13:00 AM BMHS wrestlers, local coach help kick off Mayer wrestling program
Bradshaw Mountain wrestlers demonstrate moves and techniques to Mayer High students, as Mayer’s new head coach, Darold Andrist, second from left, and Bradshaw assistant Russell Dodge, center, supervise.
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
Bradshaw Mountain assistant wrestling coach Russell Dodge demonstrates a take-down on his son, Russ, as other BMHS wrestlers show their moves at Mayer High School this past week to introduce the sport.
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
Mayer High may be a newcomer to the sport of wrestling, but its first coach certainly is not. And he has plenty of quad-city area folks willing to help him get things going.
Mayer students got an introduction to wrestling and to coach Darold Andrist this past Wednesday, when Bradshaw Mountain High assistant coach Russell Dodge and Prescott High assistant Ernie Hernandez brought about a dozen experienced wrestlers to explain the sport and demonstrate moves.
"This is the one sport that whether you win or lose, it's all you," Coach Dodge told the crowd.
His son, Russ Dodge, as well as Peter Hodan, Manny Perez, Richy Gangi, Juan Salinas and Cody Russell accompanied him to Mayer.
"I'm so glad you've started wrestling here," Coach Hernandez said, adding, "What's sweet about the sport is, it's a team sport but you can't blame your team for what happens. It's two people - you and the other guy."
The high school competitors echoed that sentiment.
"It's really rewarding," Prescott wrestler Josh Rummel said, not referring to the various medals and belt buckles some of the boys displayed, but rather to accomplishing something yourself.
Before the wrestlers wrapped one another into pretzel shapes, Dewey resident Andrist told the Mayer group he was happy to be there and delineated his qualifications and expectations.
"There's a lot of talent in this school. The sky's the limit - you can be as good as you want if you're willing to pay the price," Andrist said.
He emphasized that focus in the wrestling room would be most important.
"We have 50 days of practice," he said. "At the end of each practice you will have to be better than you were at the beginning. So at the end of the season, you'll be 50 times better than when you started."
The retired teacher told the athletes their practice sessions would be the same as being in a classroom.
"This is a wrestling class," he said. "If you listen and stay focused, we should have a competitive season."
When he said even a first-year program can find its athletes in the state championships, each future wrestler's face wore an expression of: that will be me.
Born in Minnesota, Andrist wrestled collegiately at Rochester Community College and Winona State University, with a short stint at the University of North Dakota - he didn't like it there.
After graduation in 1967, he taught physical education, health and history and coached wrestling and track at Weyauwega High (now Weyauwega-Fremont, near Green Bay, Wisc.) for 10 years.
He spent the following two years at Fennimore (Wisc.) High, teaching physical education and coaching wrestling and football.
The next five years found him at Chadron State College in Nebraska, where again he taught P.E. and coached wrestling and football.
By 1982, he was ready for a change, and became a school administrator - director of activities - for a district that included Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S. Dak.
Five years later he relocated to Prescott, Ariz., where he and his wife ran the Apache Hotel for 19 years. During that stretch, he served as assistant wrestling coach at Prescott High, Granite Mountain Middle School and Mile High Middle School.
Currently, Andrist owns two ranches and raises Thoroughbred racehorses in Dewey-Humboldt. His son, Andy Andrist, is a Humboldt Unified School District teacher in Prescott Valley.
Between the coach's background and the demonstrations -including some mat interaction between the presenters and potential wrestlers from Mayer - many were convinced to give the sport a try.
More than a dozen students - including at least three young ladies - stayed after the demonstration to sign up for next winter's wrestling season with Coach Andrist.