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Covington finally now has its very own youth wrestling program - the first in Newton County.

The Black Watch wrestling team, coached by Gabe Gamadanis and Michael Smith-Foot, started April 30 as a fully accredited USA Wrestling youth program.

It is open to all beginner and experienced wrestlers up to age 14. LifePointe Church of the Nazarene, located at 5133 Jackson Hwy, allows the team to practice in its own gym.

The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There is also a beginner's only practice each Monday night from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Matt fees are $2 per session.

Wrestling is a great sport for young boys, particularly because there isn't a size advantage like in basketball and football since they wrestle in different weight classes.

Speed, strength and being a good athlete are important; however, one can make up for these natural gifts by learning moves, technique and conditioning.

As far as conditioning goes, nothing compares to wrestling. When the season begins wrestlers are typically sore all over because they use muscles not familiar in other sports they play.

Gamadanis, a 2007 graduate of Eastside High School, was captain of the varsity wrestling team. Overall, he had a 275-54 record and was a two-time state freestyle champion and four-time national qualifier.

Smith-Foot, who has been coaching since 1997, was previously the head wrestling skipper of Indian Creek Middle School for eight years. He also coached at Eastside in 2006 and 2007, leading the team to second place overall in the state.

Gamadanis has also recruited other former wrestlers in the area such as Mikey Laib, William Wells and Zach Allen who will all help in training the young grapplers, proving that wrestling is a sport where former wrestlers love giving back.

Several weeks ago, Gamadanis hosted his first camp that was open to youth wrestlers, and featured high school wrestlers.

To date, Black Watch has competed in three tournaments. The first was the Hiram Classic, where Black Watch sent six wrestlers, all of which placed in the top four of their respective weight classes. At the tournament held in Henry County, 13 of the 15 wrestlers placed in the top four.

On Dec. 22 at the Harrison Beginners Tournament in Kennesaw, Black Watch had six wrestlers enter the event with five placing first in their weight brackets.

Stevie Howard (70 pounds), A.J. Howard (85), Alex Parish (90), Jed Wheeler (112) and Kevin Thompson (112) all won their respective weight class divisions.

For further information regarding youth wrestling, contact Gamadanis at (404) 935-8886 or send e-mail to