Wisconsin wrestler Dean Hamiti helps Clippers


AMBOY – Wrestling may be a winter sport in the Illinois High School Association calendar, but it’s never too early or too late to sharpen mat skills.

Amboy High School wrestling coach Brent Montavon has a large portion of his team in summer camps, including a camp held at the NWO Wrestling Club in Sheridan with University of Wisconsin wrestler Dean Hamiti.

“Dean does a really good job with the kids. He comes and runs the camp for three days,” Montavon said. “Nate Martinez (the owner of NWO Wrestling Club) and I kind of sit back and just have fun with the kids. Dean shows them a lot of chain wrestling and technique. It’s perfecting technique more than anything.

“The kids have fun. They all have their air mattresses and they camp out. We play games and they enjoy it.” 

Hamiti is a 165-pound wrestler for the Badgers who, as a soon-to-be junior, is a two-time NCAA All-American, placed sixth at the 2023 NCAA Championships, won the Big Ten Championship, and was named the 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Montavon had three high school wrestlers attend Hamiti’s camp from June 20-22 in upcoming junior Josh McKendry, sophomore Chase Montavon, and freshman Jose Lopez. Coach Montavon’s youngest son, Blake Montavon (7-years old), also took to the mats.

“We stayed the night for two nights and came home on Thursday,” Brent Montavon said. “It’s an awesome camp for my wrestlers because of the knowledge they’re getting. They’re getting knowledge from other wrestlers and from other coaches. It’s only beneficial. During the summer a lot of kids don’t wrestle, so this gets them in the gym for a week and gets wrestling back in their head.

“Come October when we start again, it’s not as foreign as it would be without the camp.”

Senior Lucas Blanton and sophomore Landon Blanton, who advanced to state as a freshman, have been wrestling at Alber Athletics in Freeport throughout the summer and were at a camp in Iowa during Hamiti’s camp.