If Ben Sandoval turns in a banner wrestling performance next season, he might point to a pair of nationally recognized training camps as the keys to his mat successes.
The camps he attended during the month of July included a rigorous two-week session at the Camp of Champs in Juneau, Wis., and a one-week session at the 13th Annual Washington Wrestling Intensive camp in Spokane.
"I learned a lot from both of them," the PHS junior said. "I think they will help me next year."
Sandoval said the Washington camp focused on mental toughness while the Camp of Champs featured techniques, high-level instruction, nutrition and well-balanced health.
At the Camp of Champs, Sandoval was tutored by two-time NCAA champion Ben Peterson and his brother, John Peterson, who is an Olympic champion and seven-time world medalists.
"We learned Greco, freestyle and folkstyle wrestling," he said. "I hadn't done much Greco or freestyle before, but it was good for me to learn those."
In addition to daily training and conditioning sessions, Sandoval and the about 50 other campers competed in 30 minutes of live wrestling and at least two matches each night.
In Spokane, Sandoval and the other campers underwent a rigorous training schedule that sometimes included a 5-mile run at 6:30 a.m. and a 2:30 a.m. wrestling practice.
The most challenging part of the camp, Sandoval said was the strength training and conditioning which included weight lifting, running, sprints, partner lifts and hill climbs.
There were also daily inspirational messages about the value of positive mental attitudes, leadership, teamwork, character and goal setting.
Also during the camp, the participants engaged in about 21 full live match techniques.
Although Sandoval often wrestled in heavier weight classes than the 130 pounds he competed in high school, he remembers winning all but one match.
Among the coaches on hand to instruct Sandoval and the other campers was Boise State assistant coach Chris Owens who was a two-time all-American in college. Also 2000 Olympian and 11-time Canadian National Champion Just Abdou was on the staff.
The staff taught an attack style of wrestling that featured hard work, solid technique and sportsmanship.
"Both camps were for the very serious wrestlers," Sandoval said.
Last year, Sandoval compiled a 39-13 mark, was second in the East region championships and fourth at state.
"I'll probably move up a weight class next year," he said.