The first thing you see when entering the Grand Strand Hurricanes’ training room are hand-painted letters on one of the large room’s walls, crudely spelling out the word “WRESTLING.” The letters seem to symbolize the raw, unpolished talent of the young men pouring out their sweat in this portable trailer on the grounds of Carolina Forest High School. The young men are the wrestlers of the Grand Strand Hurricanes, a local, independent club of elementary, middle and high school age wrestling enthusiasts under the watchful eyes of head coach Josh Testa.
There is a passion in Testa’s voice that resonates whether he is instructing the team on technique or talking about the goals he has for this program. “I try to build their skills, experience and resume going to the next level. I truly believe that a good work ethic in athletics carries over to a good work ethic in academics,” says Testa.
He has been juggling the balance of wrestling and schoolwork ever since he was in kindergarten in Pittsburgh up until he received his second master’s degree in education. He cannot remember a time when he was not either playing or coaching wrestling. He volunteers his time and talents to the club, as do others such as Craig Coppola and Tony Coriell, whose two sons, Nikko and Anthony, also participate. Testa says he is not trying to compete for kids with other venues or outdo another club. His only goal is to make them better.
For Testa, it’s not just a job; it’s a labor of love. “Wrestling has been my life. If not for wrestling, I wouldn’t know what to do with my free time,” says Testa, who is also the head coach of the Carolina Forest High School wrestling team.
The Grand Strand Hurricanes are an independent club with the only expense for participants being to join the USA Wrestling organization for tournament and insurance purposes. USA Wrestling has clubs in all 50 states and provides opportunities for wrestlers of all styles and skill levels to compete at the regional, national and international levels.
The club runs during the summer months and gets the kids ready for the school wrestling season, which runs from October to April. Practices are every Monday and Wednesday evenings with about five tournaments on the 2015 schedule. For more information on the Grand Strand Hurricanes, contact Josh Testa at (724) 875-9593.