Wrestling from The Compound

Wrestling is a form of combat and has been considered sport as far back as 15,000 years ago. It is said, in the Book of Genesis, that Jacob wrestled with God or an angel.
    For the ancient Greeks, wrestling was part of their Olympic games.
    The sport has transcended time and is still a popular event, whether true wrestling in its three familiar forms, or entertainment wrestling with the WWE and the like.
    Folk style wrestling is what most around are familiar with when it comes to actual wrestling. Pontiac, Prairie Central, Dwight and El Paso-Gridley have programs that have been around for decades.
    Chenoa, too, had quite a successful program before consolidation with Prairie Central years ago. It is Chenoa where the sport is taking shape for younger participants thanks to “The Compound.”
    The Compound is a facility located on North Division Street near the McLean-Livingston County line, north of Old Route 66. It is here that brothers Doug and Jeff Hoselton are driven to teach wrestling in its three primary forms to youths in the area.
    “The school was squeezing out for time,” Doug Hoselton said. “Getting gym time in Chenoa was shared with the Boys and Girls Club and after-school programs.”
    The three types of wrestling that are of the Hoseltons’ concern are folk, freestyle and Greco. The latter two are the oldest forms of the sport.
    The club associated with The Compound is the Sons of Thunder Central, which is part of the IKWF group for Chenoa. It is an offshoot of the Sons of Thunder, a club created by Jeff Estrada, who hails from Granite City in southern Illinois originally but is now based in Colorado.
    “We hooked up with Estrada and changed from the PC Youth Wrestling Club to the Sons of Thunder Central,” Jeff Hoselton said. “That was in October.
    “He started Sons of Thunder and it’s one of the top three or four clubs in the United States. He’s got Illinois roots and wanted to get back. When he met us, he liked us and what we were doing and this is where he wanted to branch out.”
    Estrada was at The Compound this past weekend to demonstrate Greco and freestyle techniques at one of the camps that take place at the private facility.
    The SOCT is a folk style club that competes with its members being from within a 50-mile radius of Chenoa. The Compound is more of an academy that allows students from all over.
    “We run an IKWF program, that’s the SOTC part,” Jeff Hoselton said. “The Compound is the academy part, so anyone can come from any club.”
    “That’s the 12-month wrestling,” Doug Hoselton added, referring to The Compound.
    The core of students are from Central Illinois and come from El Paso, Gibson City, Dwight, as well as Pontiac and the Prairie Central school district communities.
    The purpose of the club, whose motto is “Together we can!”, is simple.
    “We’re trying to help,” Doug Hoselton said. “We have some junior high kids who come here, some IK kids, some high school kids.
    “We’re just trying to make whoever wants to get off-season training available, like they have Chicago and St. Louis. It allows us to do what we love to do, which coaching; and to give our kids partners. It brings the open gym theory to the off-season.
    “(People) used to think that you wrestled four months out of the year and that was enough. But, this is closing the gap on the 2A and 3A schools,” he added.
    The club produced 12 state champions and 17 more placers between the IKWF, IESA and IHSA this past season. The champions also included four girls.
    Drew Hoselton and Brandon Hoselton, sons of Doug, won state titles in February at the IHSA state finals in Champaign. They take part as assistant instructors in teaching the younger wrestlers the sport at the academy.
    “Brandon’s great with little kids, they all love him,” Doug Hoselton said.
    He pointed out that The Compound practices get 25-35 participants with ages ranging from 5 to 18 years of age. It teaches all three forms, with folk style being the main form of wrestling. However, the spring and summer months are more for Greco and freestyle.
    Cost seems quite reasonable at $100 per month with practice times a couple nights a week. For those looking to get a little practice in here and there, the cost is a $25 drop-in fee.
    “We get (kids from) Rantoul, Mt. Zion, Clinton, Havana and Minooka in our academy,” Jeff Hoselton said. “That’s open to all. We have a pretty good radius on the academy. We’ve only had one Pontiac kid, though. It’s just weird because we have partners that they don’t have.
    “Honestly, it doesn’t bother me,” he added. “If you want to come here or you don’t, hey, we have 29 state champs and placers. The results have spoken for themselves. They all work hard and want to be there. If you don’t put in the work, you’re going to get pounded in that room. That’s probably the best thing about that room, the quality of partners.”
    “Luckily, the people coming to us are the very serious,” Doug Hoselton said.
    The Hoseltons said that club practices and academy practices are on different nights when the seasons overlap.
    There is also a method to help the newcomers become acclimated to the atmosphere.
    “Most of our beginners are brothers of (members),” Doug Hoselton said. “What we like to do with our new kids is get their dads involved. We’re big with having their dads work with their kids, it makes it more of a family deal.
    “We have a good group of people, there’s nobody worrying about who’s the best. It’s everyone is for everybody. For as big as we are, I can’t believe we don’t any more egos than we do. We haven’t had any of that, everyone cares about each other.”
    There have been, and will be, some big names in Olympic wrestling who have attended or will be attending academy camps, including Jesse Delgado and Isaiah Martinez, both national champions at the University of Illinois, as well as Griffin Parriott from Purdue and Virginia Tech all-American Joey Dance.