James Howey of Pomona Diamond Ranch is taking the summer sports camp experience to a whole different level.
He left home on June 4 to attend the J Robinson Intensive Wrestling Camp in Forest City, Iowa, and has been back for only one day since as he tries to do something no teenager has ever done — attend all four of the wrestling camp’s sessions.
“For the most part, all my friends and family have told me I’m crazy, but they’re rooting for me to reach my goals,” he said.
Howey spent 10 days at Waldorf College, then moved on to the 14-day camp at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, followed by a 28-day camp at the University of Minnesota. Now he’s at a 14-day camp at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore., that ends Aug. 9.
He said he and his family have spent more than $9,000 for the camps and airfare. Hey, at least he got a discount for the fourth camp — it’s free. And he remembered to bring along a toothbrush as he stays in dorm after dorm.
“I feel it’s really helping me,” he said.
Howey joined the wrestling team at Diamond Ranch as a freshman. He’ll be a senior this fall and hopes to win a Southern Section championship wrestling at 6 feet 2, 170 pounds.
“It just appealed to me,” he said. “A lot of other sports, you need a certain body type, but in wrestling, if you work hard and give it everything you have, you can be the best.”
Visiting four different cities around the country means he could be a tour guide. “I liked Minneapolis,” he said. “There were a lot of cool little shops.”
As for the dorms, they weren’t exactly filled with flat-screen TVs.
“What we did in the dorm is sleep,” he said.
The rest of the time was devoted to eating and wrestling.
He has no regrets about spending his entire summer vacation wrestling almost every day.
If there were another camp for him to attend, he said, “I’d do it.”
School begins Aug. 13, so he’ll have a few days off to rest and maybe go to the beach, right?
“I don’t know if I’ll have the energy for that,” he said.