Coaches, parents, and supporters crowded around wrestling mats on November 9th for the 2nd annual USA sanctioned Little League Folkstyle Tournament held in Morgan as they shouted out wrestling techniques and praise for the young wrestlers. Dressed in singlets and headgear or t-shirts and shorts, approximately 340 wrestlers came from as far away as Pinedale, Magna, Bear River, Heber City, South Jordan, Evanston, and everywhere in between.
Morgan has hosted numerous quality tournaments over the years but USA sanctioned tournaments like this one are held to a higher standard which draws more competitive wrestlers. The club decided to run these high caliber tournaments because they felt their wrestlers would be able to compete at this level. By bringing them to Morgan they would also ensure wrestlers that are not able to travel around the state would be able to compete in a tournament of this prestige.
The tournament met the expected number of registrations early and many more continued to register. Early in registration, all of the spots were filled and additional spots were added; however, at one point the Morgan Wrestling Club decided to not allow any more registrations so they could adequately handle the crowd. This response was unexpected and the club was elated. With involvement from the community, the tournament ran smoothly and upheld the reputation that Morgan runs well-organized tournaments.
The boys, ranging in age from preschool to 8th grade began practicing October 21st and with only a few weeks of practice, they were set to compete. They will continue to practice until the Christmas break. The Jr. High team will continue to hone their skills as a group until the State Tournament in February. This sport requires endurance, patience and determination. An outsider may mistakenly overlook the skill that goes into wrestling. Even the youngest wrestlers at four years old must know the proper way to take down an opponent, how to suitably negotiate their challenger onto their back, and then to use their body to effectively pin their rival. These preschoolers learn famous moves like the ‘Half Nelson’ to triumph. The older boys continue to master these skills while adding other moves into their arsenal. As wrestlers continue to participate in the club, their progress is evident
The high school wrestlers didn’t compete, but that didn’t keep them off the mats. They used their knowledge and love of the sport to referee, a duty they didn’t take lightly. With intense concentration, they oversaw each bout while parents and community members volunteered to keep score and run times. Many also volunteered to help set up and take down and help throughout the tournament to ensure the day ran smoothly.
“We have always had such great community/parent support when running these tournaments, and this year is no exception.” Morgan Wrestling club president Kristen Korth said. “Many have never helped keep score or haven’t even been around the sport at all, but are willing to pitch in and learn for the benefit of the club and the community.”
“Parents who volunteer to help at the table when their kids are young are able to learn more about the rules and the scoring, the sport in general, and are more likely to help out in years to come,” Korth explained. The tournament had enough volunteers to successfully operate 12 mats and 12 tables.
This group of young wrestlers has an arduous schedule ahead of them. Many will compete nearly every Saturday until the State Tournament in February. Good luck to all the participants in this physically and mentally demanding sport.
The club would like to express appreciation to our High School, Coach Dustin Rock, and the High School Team, the wrestlers parents, and all those who are helping on Saturday to make the tournament run smoothly.