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Youth wrestling tournament draws 500 wrestlers

The Tea youth wrestling club held their eighth annual wrestling tournament Jan. 17.

The club set a new tournament record with 500 wrestlers from at least 15 different teams. Last year, they had about 350 participants. Jeramie Eimers, a tournament organizer, attributes the jump because Harrisburg moved their tournament to be the Friday before.

“We used to compete against them and this year they changed theirs to a Friday night. That helped, I think, build ours a little bigger. They had 350 at theirs,” Eimers said. “I have not been to a local tournament with 500 kids before. It was a little surprising.”

Eimers said about 85 volunteers helped make the event run smoothly. Weigh-ins started at 10:30. Wrestling started at 1 p.m. and they were wrapped up within five hours.

Eight Augustana University wrestlers and the high school coaches volunteered as officials.

During the tournament, participants are broken out into age groups first: tots are born 2010 and after, bantam are 2008 and 2009, midgets are 2006 and 2007, novice are 2004 and 2005, schoolboy are 2002 and 2003, and a girls division. Once they are divided by age, they are sorted by weight and town and then by experience. Experience levels include beginner, average and advanced.

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