Annual youth wrestling tournament returns this weekendJanuary 4, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Youth wrestling will make its way to Jasper Middle School on Sunday for the 44th Annual Jasper Wrestling Club Folkstyle Open Wrestling Tournament. The tournament started under Joe Rohleder’s direction, and has continued ever since.
Jasper Wrestling Club president Ryan Prechtel said the tournaments have been timely and well run through the years that has led people to come back. The tournament has evolved through the years. Digital scoreboards donated to the club are at mat side for people to see the action that is going on. There are also two large computer screens on a metal stand with one facing the mat and the other behind it. People can see which participants are coming up next.
More than 350 youth wrestlers from five different states competed in last year’s event. Wrestlers from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky have taken part in this tournament in the past.
“It’s unusual for a youth tournament to have around 3-400 participants in it,” Prechtel said. “A normal number is 100-200, but with our numbers, and the way it’s ran, people come to tournaments like this, or they’ll travel to get to have some good competition.”
Last year’s tournament started 10 minutes early, which was new for Prechtel, a seasoned pro at attending wrestling tournaments. He said the Jasper Wrestling Club has capped the number of participants this year at 400, in order to make sure the tournament keeps running smoothly.
Prechtel anticipates the tournament will reach that number by the time registration ends.
The tournament will range from participants younger than six years of age all the way through eighth grade wrestlers. Prechtel said the skill level varies. There may be beginners, but others may provide stiff competition. Clubs outside schools will come out as well.
It’s scheduled to start 10 a.m. Sunday and all wrestlers must be checked in by 8:30 a.m. The weigh-ins and skin checks will run from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. today or 7:00 a.m. through 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
“(I’m) expecting great wrestling,” he said. “People have always looked to our tournament. Everybody’s very cordial. We have a great turnout by our wrestling club members who put in a lot of hard work, especially on that day. We have our full high school team there working the mats and refereeing. We have paid officials who will be there. So, it’s all-around, a great effort by the community to make this a successful event.”
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