For the 12th season, wrestlers from around the country will flock to Neosho for the 12th Annual Coach Phillips Technique and Drill Camp, and for good reason. This year, there’s an added bonus: Campers will also learn from three highly decorated wrestlers among the college ranks.
Leading the camp, however, is one of the more decorated coaches in the state of Missouri. Jeremy Phillips, with eight years under his belt as head coach at NHS, has led the Wildcats to three state titles in the past four seasons while also being named District High School Coach of the Year five times and Missouri State Coach of the Year twice. Phillips guided back-to-back state team titles in 2010-11, a runner-up finish in 2009, 4th in 2008 and 2012 and 8th in 2007.
Phillips has been the Neosho Wildcat XTREME Team head coach for 18 years while earning three District Youth Coach of the Year awards, two Youth Team State Championships (2006-07), state runner-up in 2011, third place in 2005 and 2012 and fifth in 2002-04 and again in 2008.
Phillips said the camp averages eight to 10 Novice wrestlers in the 6-under and first year category and approximately 45 in the advanced session, though the number of participants expected to attend the event this season isn’t currently known. In the past, the camp has generated grapplers from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Kansas.
The camp runs July 8-11 at the Neosho Wrestling Complex located inside the old Recreation Center at 418 Fairground Road. The week will be split into two sessions, with Session 1 being for wrestlers who’ve never wrestled before and Division I level. Session 2 is comprised of experienced wrestlers from Division II varsity, junior high and high school levels.
Session 1 will run daily from 10 a.m. to noon, and Session 2 runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 with optional one-on-one time slated for 11 a.m. to noon.
Fees for Neosho wrestlers in Session 1 are $75, $175 for Session 2. Non-Neosho wrestlers will pay $85 for Session 1 and $185 for Session 2. Each wrestler will also receive a camp T-shirt.
“The commitment level for my kids has been good, not great, as a team so far this summer,” Phillips said. “I really hope they will take advantage of this last big opportunity to get better on the mat before another school year starts. I’m very excited about our clinicians/alumni from Neosho coming back and sharing their knowledge. I know they will reinforce a lot of what we do as a program still, but will have many little things to add to our technique and mindset to make us that much more efficient on the mat. I believe the little things (are) what often times will separate the good from the great.”
Those former Wildcats that are returning for the event are now some highly decorated collegiate wrestlers still in the early stages of their careers.
Page 2 of 2 - Blake Stauffer (Arizona State University) — As a freshman Stauffer was an NCAA National Tournament qualifier at 174 pounds, PAC 12 Finalist 2013, high school All-American, four-time district champion and three-time academic All-State. He’s also a three-time state finalist and two-time state champion for Neosho while gathering the 2011 State Wrestler of the Year award. Stauffer was ranked in the top 10 nationally in his weight class, and was regarded as one of the very best Division I wrestlers in the nation this season.
Dallas Smith (Ouachita Baptist University) — This season Smith became a two-time All-American and was the NCAA Division II national runner-up in 2013 after taking fifth in 2012. He’s also a two time regional champion (2012-13) and was named Outstanding Freshman Wrestler of the Regional Tournament in 2012. Smith is also a high school All-American, high school state champion for the Wildcats in 2011 and is a three-time state medalist.
Payne Hatter (Labette Community College) — Hatter had a solid showing at the NJCAA JUCO National Championships as he took fourth place individually to earn All-American status at 184 pounds while leading the Cardinal to the national championship as a team. Hatter also had third and fifth place individual finishes during his Wildcats career while helping the team to state championships in 2010 and 2011. Hatter tied the single-season pin record in ‘11 with 40.
Phillips said he is excited to see the trio return to give back to the youth.
“It makes me so very proud!” Phillips exclaimed. “So exciting to see each of them continuing to train and excel in a sport I began working with them at over 15 years ago. What they have done at the next level is no surprise, and I truly believe the best is yet to come.
“My relationship with each of them is still very close, and perhaps closer, as I still workout with them when they are back home and stay in contact with them throughout the year. I refer to each of them throughout the course of the season to help our kids remember what it takes to be successful on and off the mat, and where they can be one day, if they truly want it bad enough.”