It’s close to 110 degrees outside on a Saturday morning, but inside the Morenci High School wrestling room gym filled with elementary, middle schoolers and high school student wrestlers practicing wrestling movies, it’s somehow even hotter.

This is Black Cat Wrestling.

“The little ones definitely keep us busy,” said Casey Woodall, program director and founder of Black Cat Wrestling.

Woodall, who is also head coach of the Morenci High School wrestling team and the athletic development teacher at the school, started Black Cat Wrestling after moving back to Morenci eight years ago to give students an after-school program and as a way to get students interested in wrestling. The program is open to students of all ages, genders and ability levels.

“It’s definitely for everybody,” Woodall said, adding that the program has lots of female participants and those with disabilities.

“It’s also an outlet for the kids, and a way for them to build relationships and character,” Woodall added.

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In the program, students aged 3 to 18 are taught how to wrestle and how to practice wrestling. Groups are taught by age groups — pre-kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school groups — with the high school students sometimes assisting teaching and training the younger wrestlers.

While the program is supposed to stand on its own as an after-school and summer activity, Woodall said that it does sometimes act as a feeder system for the Morenci High School wrestling team.

In the past eight years, 10 Morenci students have earned college scholarships for wrestling, Woodall said.

The program has 30 to 40 high school and middle school students, and 80 to 90 elementary students.

Over the summer, Woodall is just offering classes for middle school and high school students, but he said that he’s always looking for more students to join. Classes for younger students will start again in spring.

You can contact Woodall for more information on how to join Black Cat Wrestling by emailing him at cawoodall@morenci.org.

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