Youth programs serve as backbone for Central Catholic League wrestling teams

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Reflecting on his early days in the sport, one of the top wrestlers in the CCL can’t help but get nostalgic.

Hartley junior Cooper Rathburn, a two-time state tournament qualifier, fondly recalls the relationships and friendly rivalries he has developed over the years with his fellow competitors in the Central Catholic League.

It’s a tale told often among CCL competitors, who form bonds at an early age through youth wrestling and carry them over to their high school careers.

“I grew up around the DeSales guys,” said Rathburn, who began wrestling at around 6 years old with a Reynoldsburg youth club. “A lot of them I wrestled in my first year at Reynoldsburg, so it’s all come full circle. We’ve all been in the CCL for a couple of years now. It’s funny to see the guys who I’ve known since we were all 3 feet tall and we’re all wrestling now trying to win state titles.”

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