Michael Kemerer is doing a lot of traveling this summer, but it's not for a family vacation.
Kemerer, who recently completed his sophomore year at Franklin Regional High School, spent last week in Iowa at a wrestling camp sponsored by the Young Guns Wrestling Club.
Jody Strittmatter and Eric Juergens, former teammates at the University of Iowa, are co-founders of the Young Guns Wrestling Club, which has two bases of operation. Strittmatter, an assistant coach at Pitt-Johnstown, runs the Western Pennsylvania club, while Juergens runs its counterpart in Iowa.
"Every summer the two hold a wrestling camp for both clubs," said Kemerer, a two-time PIAA Class AAA runner-up and two-time WPIAL finalist. "It changes sites every year. Last summer, it was held here in Pennsylvania. This summer, it was in Iowa at Pleasant Valley High School [in Riverdale]."
More than 20 wrestlers from Western Pennsylvania made the trip to Iowa for this summer's camp, including Kemerer and Panthers teammate Tyler Smith, who won a PIAA title in March.
"It was a week-long intensive camp," said Kemerer, who has a 77-7 career record at Franklin Regional. "We stayed at the homes of high school wrestlers from Iowa who are members of the Young Guns club. We hosted them last summer.
"It's a great experience because we get a chance to work out with kids we haven't faced before. It's very beneficial because they have a different style of wrestling."
The Western Pennsylvania contingent also got a chance to visit the University of Iowa in Iowa City and tour its wrestling facilities.
"We got back on Sunday," said Kemerer, who didn't stay home very long. "The Young Guns is taking three teams to the Disney Duals. We fly to Orlando [yesterday]."
Kemerer will be wrestling for the strongest of Young Guns' three teams. He will be joined by two familiar faces: Josh Maruca and Luke Fleck, two of his Franklin Regional teammates.
"This will be my second trip to the Disney Duals," Kemerer said. "Last summer, I went unbeaten in my bouts and our team made it to the semifinals before losing a close match to the eventual runner-up.
"I really enjoy the trip because we get to face some of the best wrestlers in the country. We also have a couple days to enjoy Disney's theme parks. It's a lot of fun."
Kemerer will be competing in the 126-pound weight class at the Disney Duals.
"We get a 5-pound weight allowance," Kemerer said. "I'm not sure if I will be able to stay at 126 for the high school season. I'll just have to wait and see, but I will probably move up a weight class."
The Disney Duals begin today and conclude July 2. Kemerer and his Young Guns teammates return to Pittsburgh on July 5. But he doesn't plan to stay in Murrysville very long.
"I would like to wrestle at Fargo again," said Kemerer, referring to the site of the USA Wrestling National Championships, which begin July 12. "I went last year and placed fifth at 120 in the Cadet freestyle tournament."
Kemerer did not compete in the Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation state championships earlier this month, but still thinks he can be added to the Pennsylvania team.
"I had minor nose surgery before the [PAWF] state tournament, so I couldn't wrestle," Kemerer said. "I'm hoping to receive a waiver that will allow me to wrestle at Fargo."