Wheeling Mat Club 3-Peats

Youth benefits Park wrestling

Wheeling Wrestling Club head coach Todd Shelek, middle, is shown with two club members, his son, Nate, left, and Hunter Nixon. Nate Shelek was named an All-American at the recent FloNationals wrestling while Nixon was the 2018 FloNationals National Champion.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Wrestling Club has been developing young wrestlers for 30 years but the recent success rate has everyone taking notice.

The club of 4-13 year-old grapplers recently won its third straight West Virginia Youth Wrestling Association Championship, taking home each title by at least 150 points.

In the last 10 years, the club has accumulated 46 state champions and the current team has placed 17 wrestlers nationally, with five bringing national titles back to the Ohio Valley.

Wheeling Wrestling Club head coach Todd Shelek has been with the program for 10 years and eight years ago, he was joined by assistant coach Erick Brothers, who has seen great improvement and growth in the club.

“Todd is phenomenal,” Brothers said. “He is a firefighter in the Wheeling area and he puts in a lot of time with all of the kids.

“I have been his right-hand man for all these years and he has brought this team to where it is now. We used to practice out of the Wheeling Park wrestling room with only one full mat.

“As the team grew, we had to look elsewhere to find a place to fit all of the kids. Now, we rent out the Wheeling Jesuit wrestling room.”

Joining Shelek on the Wheeling Wrestling Club coaching staff are Rick Welker, Jeremy Lowe, Josh Bruanlich, Eric Cottrill, Jeremy Velas, Brian Humphrey, Brian Flannigan, Chad Adams and Adam Angel.

Shelek, Brothers and the rest of the coaching staff has turned an 18-member team into a squad of 53 wrestlers.

At the high-school level, the products of the Wheeling Wrestling Club continue to embody what they learned growing up.

Wheeling Park 2015 state champion Dallas Baciak and current senior John Nash, a two-time OVAC champion, each got their start with the Wheeling Wrestling Club and the future looks bright for the Patriots wrestling program.

“These kids are the future of Wheeling Park wrestling,” Shelek said. “The Wheeling Wrestling Club is a feeder system for the Wheeling Park High School wrestling team.

“I think we’ve had a lot of success with the club and I think we will be sending a lot of great wrestlers to Wheeling Park in the coming years.”

Next season, the Patriots will consist of Andrew Shelek, Todd Shelek’s son, along with Canon Welker, Steven Mitchell and Billy Gooch, all of which are products of the Wheeling Wrestling Club.

Andrew Shelek earned state runner-up honors this past year, while Gooch finished third in the state, Mitchell placed fourth in West Virginia and Welker added a sixth place finish in the state.

Nobody has been more grateful for the preparation of these young men more than Wheeling Park coach Clay Tucker.

“Todd wants the kids to be great wrestlers and great people,” Tucker said. “He has passion for the sport and he is a positive influence for the athletes. There is no doubt that the kids in the Wheeling Wrestling Club get the right kind of training and the right type of coaching. Todd does a great job.”

Todd Shelek has also spent the last two years as Tucker’s assistant coach for Wheeling Park.