Amateur Update: Wrestling not only popular among Rochester schools
Back in the 1990s, as a father of a youth wrestler, I was disappointed at the lack of a Folkstyle State Wrestling Championship.
What do I mean by Folkstyle? Folkstyle is the style of wrestling used in high schools and colleges -- thus, the style that most youth participate in. It varies slightly from Freestyle and Greco, which are the styles used during the Olympics and more internationally recognized.
Minnesota USA Wrestling annually held youth Freestyle and Greco State Championships, but while Folkstyle had numerous tournaments there was never the ultimate show down event offered.
Then, in the late '90s, both Northland Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA) and MN USA Wrestling began to offer a true state Folkstyle tournament to youth participants.
Since then, these events have grown in numbers and are extremely competitive. They offer the opportunity for all Minnesota youth to compete for a state championship and both are very well run by the organizing groups. These days, our state's best youth wrestlers square off in Rochester!
This past weekend there were more than 1800 MN USA youth wrestlers in Rochester and the level of competition was incredible!
In a few weeks, the NYWA will roll into Rochester. Not only do they crown individual state champions but they also offer a team aspect to their tournament. Teams from all over Minnesota will compete for the NYWA state team title.
Wrestling numbers continue to grow across the state. It is a sport every family can have their child try as membership/registration is affordable, equipment needed is minimal and weekend tournaments are very reasonable (usually about $10 or so).
Rochester has three different youth wrestling programs for the area youth to choose from. Additional information can be found at rocketwrestling.org/rywa/rywa.htm. Almost all of the rural communities surrounding Rochester offer programs to their youth as well.
Wrestling numbers reflect a very healthy sport. High school data reports almost 10,000 high schools throughout the nation offering the sport comprised of close to 250,000 athletes! This makes it the sixth-most popular high school sport.
When our state's high school wrestlers get to the Xcel Center in St Paul someday, they may find themselves facing a new opponent or their arch-rivals of the past years. But rarely will a high school wrestler compete for a state title that has not competed at some time previously in Rochester. These tournaments have been created, developed and offered to help young talented wrestlers try their skills and abilities against the best of their age and size.
Eventually, the best end up vying for a high school state title. We should be proud to know these talented athletes spent their younger days competing for titles right here in Rochester.