The STMA Youth Wrestling Club hosted a first-of-its kind youth dual meet for kids late last month.
According to wrestling club member Michelle LeMonds, youth dual meets are prevalent all over the state at this time of the year, but "STMA decided to take their event to the next level."
The clubreserved the entire high school bymnasium and the STMA Activity Center and held the largest youth (kindergarten through sixth grade) wrestling team event in the state. The field included 32 teams from all over the state and Wisconsin in attendance.
While set-up for the event started the afternoon prior, the teams, coaches and spectators all showed up starting early Sunday, Jan. 27. The event was run on a total of 16 full-size wrestling mats, again, the largest such assemblance in one location in the state for any single Minnesota wrestling event.
All 32 teams competed in five matches, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 4:30pm.
"To pull off an event such as this required a total commitment form the wrestling community. Parents and kids from our youth, middle school and high school programs came together to help support the volunteer needs. More than 100 volunteers in total handled everything from setup, admissions, weigh-ins, concessions, coaches room, tear down, etc.
"Not only did the event run without a hitch, it received rave reviews from the teams who attended. The dual meets were very competitive, top to bottom. Organization and refereeing were top notch. The awards the kids were battling for were reminiscent of those received at the highest level of national competition. All in all it was a great day for over 650 wrestlers, 100 coaches and 800 spectators!"
Money raised from the tournament goes to support the coaches, facilities, insurance, equipment, etc., required to support youth wrestling in St. Michael. With more than 180 STMA kids in kindergarten through sixth grade wrestling this year, it remains one of the strongest youth programs in Minnesota.