When you were an All-American wrestler, you get to know a lot of people, who, in turn, know a lot of people.
"Wrestling's one of the sports where there's a respect in the community," Portage coach and former University of Minnesota All-American Leroy Vega said. "You know what they've been through and they know what you've been through."
Vega used his considerable ties in the sport to line up Penn State's David Taylor, the 2012 NCAA champion at 165 pounds, for a camp this weekend at Portage High School.
"I emailed (Penn State coach) Cael Sanderson and told him I was looking to bring in David Taylor," Vega said. "He talked to David, we exchanged emails, and we've been going back and forth the past two, three months trying to figure out a schedule. Everything was on hold because of the Olympics, but it's all worked out."
The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the high school wrestling room, with an hour lunch break from 11 to noon. Cost is $100.
"It's great for kids in our area to bring in a guy they actually watched wrestle on ESPN and win a national title," Vega said. "Kids look up to a guy like that. I'm not in this to make money. I'm in this to give back to the kids, to have this kind of opportunity. It's nice to have the staff that we have, but it's good for our kids to be taught by somebody else, to have them show different techniques."
Vega has been happy with the response, noting how much a boy from Arizona spending the summer with his grandparents in Valparaiso was looking forward to coming to the camp.
"His grandmother called and said she didn't know who David Taylor was, but her grandson was so excited to meet him and just wouldn't shut up about the camp," Vega said. "It's his last week of summer (here) and this is going to make his whole trip."
The camp will also feature two-time Indiana high school state champion Camden Eppert, a two-time national qualifier at Purdue.