Unselfishness, hard work has Cody Buchanan turning the Guerrilla Wrestling Club into the go-to training spot

Long hours, longer car drives have made Cody Buchanan one of the unsung heroes of southeastern Minnesota's prep wrestling scene. His Guerrilla Wrestling Club has become a go-to training spot.

Guerrilla Wrestling Club
Guerrilla Wrestling Club coach Cody Buchanan on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER — Cody Buchanan knew he had quite a challenge before him.

Many around the Rochester area have tried to start wrestling clubs in hopes of giving the many talented high school grapplers around this wrestling-loving part of the state a consistent opportunity to train.

Yet, many have failed.

However, that didn't deter Buchanan.

He was destined to be a coach and after competing at Stewartville High School, his coaches couldn't have agreed more.


He taught freestyle for five years as part of the Stewartville Wrestling Club after college, slowly building up a clientele by attending numerous tournaments and clinics. Soon, it wasn't just Stewartville wrestlers who were attending Buchanan's lessons, but grapplers from around the area as well. He didn't advertise his lessons, but word of mouth got around that there was as a young coach who was more than willing to put in the work for prep grapplers.

"I had had enough guys from different little pockets," Buchanan said. "Most of the kids that ended up coming in, came in because somebody older in their high school came and they jumped in the car and came with."

As more and more kids joined, it dawned on Buchanan that he could make a little more money — not much — by going off on his own.

Soon, the Guerrilla Wrestling Club was born.

Guerrilla Wrestling Club
Guerrilla Wrestling Club coach Cody Buchanan gives instructions to Mackenzie Armagost, left, 17, and McKenna Hendrickson, 18, both of Grand Meadow, during a meeting Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

To say the first few years were a grind is an understatement.

A lot of months, he lost money or barely broke even as he drove to various high school wrestling rooms, volunteering his time in an effort to continue to make a name for himself.

But for Buchanan, it was and still has never been about the money.

"At the end of the day, I'm willing to break even," Buchanan said. "I'm willing to take (those) losses. I took losses for a long time as a young adult man. I was driving up to Zumbrota on my own dime to run practice on a Wednesday. They were super nice enough to me to go help out with whatever. A lot of people across the area were."


That meant the world for Buchanan — someone who did not wrestle in college. And he will be the first to say, he wasn't exactly a standout in high school either.

Thus, it took time to garner that respect.

He did it by being a fly on the wall, soaking in the teachings from the likes of RCTC wrestling coach Andy Hackenmueller and other well-respected coaches.

Just like that his foot was in the door and he took full advantage.

Well over a dozen girls from as far as Lake City and Albert Lea made the trip to Rochester to harness their craft from GWC operator Cody Buchanon.

He went to all sorts of open tournaments in the spring and summer, looking for anyone who needed a coach for the moment. It worked.

He soon had more than 40-50 wrestlers in his docket and he opened the room for all of them, any time, any day. In fact, during the season, he can be found in the RCTC wrestling room six times a week. This while also working his day job as a physical education teacher for the Rochester Public Schools. Yet, the unselfishness and sacrifices have not been lost on his pupils.

"They're awesome," Kasson-Mantorville state champion Cole Glazier said. "They've always — even when my brother (Zach) was in high school, whenever we needed to get a practice in, we would get a hold of them and come up and they would have great partners for us. ... The club has been very good to me and definitely played a role in my success. Definitely very thankful for it."

"(Cody) knows what he's doing," Dover-Eyota two-time state champ Gavin Gust said. "He really likes to push us and you know, he's always there for me and other people in the club and always pushing us, trying to be better."


Buchanan's next venture is to continue to grow the sport of girls wrestling as well. He worked with the likes of Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Southland's Mackenzie Armagost, who placed fourth at this past MSHSL girls state wrestling tournament. Armagost was also one of more than a dozen girls who joined Buchanan March 29 in the first girls-only training session held by GWC.

He has certainly played a role in the development of the sport.

"Cody and stuff, these are the ones that keep growing (girls wrestling)," said Byron's Danielle Fode, who recently committed to wrestle at Wartburg College. "Like if we didn't have these coaches here, I don't know how the girls would know about wrestling. To take the time out of their day to make it grow and encourage us that we can wrestle as well ... wrestling empowers women."

Hearing those types of testimonies from his wrestlers makes all the hard work, effort and unselfishness well worth it. In the end, it has allowed the Guerrilla Wrestling Club to become the top training spot in the Rochester area.

"It's been a heck of a journey," Buchanan said.

One that doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.

Guerrilla Wrestling Club
Guerrilla Wrestling Club coach Cody Buchanan gives instructions to girls wrestlers during a meeting Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at
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