Saint Georges Wrestling Team Wins On and Off the Mat
Saint Georges Technical High School Wrestling Team joins the Muscle Movement Foundation and raises over $1,000 for local 13 year old muscular dystrophy survivor.
MIDDLETOWN, DE - The Saint Georges Technical High School Wrestling Team began the 2016 season as one of the top projected teams to compete at the Delaware Wrestling State Tournament this past winter. Their pre-season projection was not surprising, as the team returned skilled wrestlers who are led in the wrestling room by Head Coach Pat Atkinson. Atkinson, coached by Delaware Sports Hall of Fame member Steve Bastianelli, is Delaware's only 5X Finalist. A DE State Runner-Up as an eighth and ninth grade wrestler, Atkinson went on to become a 3x Delaware High School Wrestling Champion for Saint Mark's High School! To say the least, Atkinson, now a coach, has acquired strong skills to lead a group of young men as successful champions.
As every coach should, Atkinson takes great pride in teaching his skills and technique to his wrestlers in order for them to reach their highest potential on the mat. But listening in as Atkinson spoke before practice, it became apparent he prides his team on more than wrestling wins.
"You guys have to go to work. Work hard, everyday, every time you step foot into this wrestling room. Put forth your greatest effort, and in the end, win or lose, you will be a champion. And if you feel the outcome is not a product of your greatest potential, than go back to work. And back to work again... Until you know you have put forth your greatest effort in accomplishing your goals. It is very difficult to stop someone who never gives up. And that is how we will win on the mat, and most importantly, in life."
-Coach Pat Atkinson
Coach Atkinson wanted to take his team to the next level this past winter. Atkinson was thrilled to have the Hawks join the Muscle Movement Foundation's Charity of Champions program. The Charity of Champions program pairs individuals who are affected by muscle disease with athletic teams. Atkinson, coaches, and team began their journey by inviting MMF Founder, Rob DeMasi, to practice. Rob DeMasi shared his wrestling accomplishments, personal muscle disease survivor story, and importance of the MMF's cause with the team. Following Rob's speech the wrestlers were excited to join the MMF - beginning their journey to "Pin Muscle Disease"!
One specific Hawk wrestler took a strong interest in the story and mission statement of the Muscle Movement Foundation. Junior, Austin Clayton, contacted the MMF with a personal initiative to spread great awareness in the DE Wrestling Community. His goal was to spread more awareness than any other Delaware wrestling team. Austin designed and sold custom Saint Georges Wrestling-Pin Muscle Disease t-shirts to the St. Georges wrestling community. Leading the campaign, Austin networked to sell over 100 shirts to wrestlers, friends, and supporters which were worn by the Hawks community at the DE State Wrestling Championship! His efforts did not stop here. Austin Clayton informed his family about the Muscle Movement Foundation and shared the story about Eddie Hazeldine, a local 13 year old boy who recently lost his ability to walk due to duchenne muscular dystrophy. Proud of his tenacity and dedication, Austin's parents fully supported Austin and team in their efforts to improve the quality of life of Eddie Hazeldine. Austin Clayton, with the help of his parents, inspired Bolt-Spec to support the Hawks' efforts in joining the MMF. Together, Coach Atkinson, coaches, Austin, and team raised over $1,000 towards 13 year old Muscle Champion, Eddie Hazeldine's fund!
As Eddie Hazeldine recently lost his ability to walk, the Hawks continued to wrestle with him in mind. Despite falling short of their goal in being crowned 2016 Delaware State Champions, the Hawks finished as State Runner-Ups. Nonetheless, they were crowned Champions by Eddie Hazeldine, the MMF, and the over one million individuals in the United States affected by neuromuscular disease. One can guess what's in store for the Hawks next season - more wrestling, more winning, and more champions! Pin Muscle Disease!
Testimony via Head Coach Pat Atkinson:
"One word to describe the experience in working with the MMF is “perspective” - perspective of what is most important in life. We tend to care so much about our own lives that tunnel vision can form. When we clear our tunnel vision we realize a lot. We realize we should not feel sorry for ourselves, and how fortunate we are despite the minor struggles we encounter. We also learn to be thankful for every day.
Wrestling is a grind and applies directly to life. Even when you are not on the mat, you tend to wrestle in life. The MMF teaches us that we have to learn to wrestle with life struggles, and wrestle through good and bad times- just as their Muscle Champions do against muscle disease. Wrestling gives you a fighting chance in life, and wrestling for the individuals who consistently portray this courage continues to help us grow. Thank you MMF and thank you Muscle Champions."