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Middle school youth qualify for state wrestling championship  

WrestlingChamps_byClintonWenholzGilpin’s Mike Wenholz wins first place at regionals

by Patty Unruh

The 2016 Colorado Middle School Regional Tournament was held at the National Western Events Center in Denver on Saturday, March 26. Mountain schools were well represented by Mike Wenholz, an eighth grader at Gilpin County Middle School, and by Joey Ariola and Caleb Oliver, both sixth graders at Nederland Middle School.

At the regional tournament, Mike won a first place berth and was a number one qualifier for the state tournament as the region 5 champion at 100 lbs. Joey wrestled his way to seventh place at 80 lbs. and qualified for state from region 1. Caleb earned eighth place at 95 lbs. and qualified from region 1, as well. There are six regions in the state, and the top eight wrestlers in each weight class from the six regions qualify for the state tournament.

Mike, Joey, and Caleb have been competing for the last few years together and recently completed their 2015-16 season on the Gilpin County Youth Wrestling Program, where they wrestled together as teammates.

Coach Clinton Wenholz advised, “The Colorado middle school regionals and state championship have not only become well-attended favorites in Colorado, they have also become an extremely important part of Colorado wrestling.”

With many high school wrestling teams lacking in numbers, the middle school regionals and state tournament have helped influence wrestlers who may not have had future plans to wrestle in high school. Coach Wenholz said, “After wrestlers experience the tournaments that determine a true middle school state champion, they have changed their future course and turned to wrestling as a sport they look forward to continuing in high school.”

Adam Gutierrez, President of RMN Events, states, “It is our goal to keep wrestling strong in the state of Colorado. The middle school regionals and state tournaments do just that; you will see the same top wrestlers placing in the high school state finals as you see in the middle school state finals.”

The public is encouraged to come out to support Mike, Joey, and Caleb as they wrestle for a chance at a state title representing their school and community on Friday, April 1 at the National Western Events Center‎, 4655 Humboldt Street in Denver‎. Wrestling begins at 5:15 p.m.

For more information on the state tournament, visit www.rmnevents.com or call Stephanie at 303-506-8779.

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