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Athletes of the Week

Grapplers compete in Junior Olympics

Jeff Sloney and Matt Vandermeer Photo provided. (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010 - Clarkston High School Seniors Matt Vandermeer and Jeff Sloney are heading to Virginia Beach this week for some sun, some fun and lots of wins.

Both are heading to Virginia with Team Michigan to compete in wrestling during the AAU Junior Olympics, starting Aug. 2.

Vandermeer and Sloney already went against tough wrestlers from around the state to take the first seed in their respective weight classes for the first team, Vandermeer in 171-pounds and Sloney in 130-pound.

Besides seeing the best wrestlers from throughout the United States they will also compete in a different style.

"It's freestyle wrestling," said Sloney and through his 12 years in the sport, he hasn't done it before.

Neither has Vandermeer - so both are practicing.

Freestyle wrestling allows the wrestlers to use their legs in offense and defense - a technique they have to keep on alert.

"It is not a style we normally wrestle in America. I am iffy on how I am going to do because it's something I haven't done before," said Vandermeer.

They compete August 2-6, with the team championships on the sixth.

"I look at it as it is all the same wrestling match," said Vandermeer. "It doesn't matter what level you are on - it's the same match. I take every match as the same for each one."

"Michigan has always been a strong force in the past years," said Pete Vandermeer. "They won the team tournament last year. Each year the team has different kids."

Vandermeer and Sloney are the only returning All-State wrestlers for the Clarkston High School team.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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