YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last weekend was the Junior High State Wrestling Meet, and this weekend, it’s all about the little guys.
The Covelli Centre is hosting the 14th annual Grade School State Tournament Saturday and Sunday. Over 1,200 wrestlers are competing, from Kindergarten all the way up to 6th grade.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Canfield 3rd grader Jon Adamson. “You get to wrestle on a lot of mats.”
Adamson won both of his matches Saturday and is one of 8 Canfield wrestlers competing for a State Title.
“Basically at the youth level we’re doing the same thing they do at the high school level,” said Canfield Youth Head Coach Dave Crawford. “Teaching them the same moves, the same techniques, the same intensity. We do a lot of traveling to get the kids good experience so that when they come to a place like this, they’re ready for it. They’re not in awe and shock of the big arenas and the level of competition.”
3,400 thousand kids competed across the State this year and Sunday, 41 different weight classes will crown State Champions.
“Here you’re kind of seeing people for the first time so it can be a real surprise,” said Jared Opfer, Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Committee. “A kid from Southwest Ohio, meeting up with a guy from Northeast that they’ve never heard of or never seen. So there can be real competitive matches and it’s very emotional for some of these kids and parents and coaches.”
“They’re passionate about it that’s why a lot of times you see the tears afterwards because they want to win so much,” said Crawford. “We try to translate that in our practice room. Work hard in practice, take care of the business there and then you can go out here and just have fun and get the victories.”