Aaron Brooks leads wrestling clinic before MAWA Eastern Nationals
Events held at Wicomico Civic Center
More than 100 young wrestlers got the chance to learn from a champion when Aaron Brooks led a wrestling clinic prior to the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association Eastern Nationals on Friday, April 29.
Brooks, 21, who wrestles for Penn State University, is a two-time Big Ten champion and two-time NCAA champion. He was also a four-time state champion as a wrestler at North Hagerstown High School and has been recognized in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
During the clinic, held at the Wicomico Civic Center, attendees watched Brooks demonstrate techniques before spreading out on the mats to give the techniques a try with a partner and then returning to learn more as a group.
Brooks said after the clinic that he wants wrestlers to stay optimistic and focus on themselves rather than comparing themselves to others.
“The main thing that I try to tell kids is ‘It’s your journey,’” Brooks said.
Brooks, who has been wrestling since age 5, credits God, along with a mindset of gratefulness for his family and other supporters, for his success in wrestling.
He got to see younger brother Jaden Brooks compete in this year’s Eastern Nationals. Jaden was among more than 1,250 wrestlers from at least 12 states and Washington, D.C., who participated in the tournament, held Saturday-Sunday, April 30-May 1.
Clinic attendees weren’t required to participate in the Eastern Nationals. Jeff Mueller, a junior at Parkside High School who joined the wrestling team this school year, learned some tips for his next season.
“It was really cool to see how in depth these basic things can go and how at the highest level, every minuscule detail matters so much,” Mueller said.
After the clinic, Brooks took time to sign autographs and get photos with a long line of wrestlers. He even gave one kid the shoes off his feet.
Brooks often leads sessions for younger wrestlers, but he still considers each time a blessing. He said his visit to the Wicomico Civic Center brought nostalgia, as he competed in the building as a child.
“I’m just blessed to be able to be in this position in a different way, to give back to kids who are in the same spot as I was,” Brooks said.