The Juneau Youth Wrestling Club announced on Wednesday that they will pay the entrance fees for the public to attend the Southeast 4A Region V wrestling championships this Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School.
The JDHS Crimson Bears, Thunder Mountain Falcons and Ketchikan Kings will be vying for two spots in each weight classification at the state tournament on Feb. 1-2. The Region V champion and the runner-up advance to the state venue.
The normal admission price to the Region V tournament is $7 for an adult and $3 for a child.
“We wanted to create a free event for the public to get people pumped up about wrestling in our town,” Juneau Youth Wrestling Club coach Paul Davis said. “We wanted to take away a deterrent or an excuse someone might have to stay away. If it is free to the public we should be able to fill up the gymnasium and show our kids the town’s support.”
Last year’s Region V tournament, also at JDHS, had a very poor turnout. The Ketchikan team and their supporters had more of a following than both the JDHS and TMHS fans combined.
At Saturday’s Region V tournament the JYWC will be holding their own tournament in cooperation with the main event, on another mat.
“Last year we tag-teamed an event with Southeast Regional tournament held at Floyd Dryden and the public loved seeing the little kids wrestling out there” Davis said.
JYWC will have 60 kids wrestling along side the high school athletes. The JYWC wrestlers will be from the ages of five through 11 years old.
“We have a lot of new kids this year,” JYWC coach Josh Houston said. “Including a couple of six year old girls, as well as three defending state champions, with two of them being nationally ranked. There will be a lot of great wrestling to watch on Saturday. These kids are the future of the Juneau School wrestling programs”.
The JYWC is a non-profit group whose main purpose is to help promote amateur wrestling in Juneau. Each year they have donated money to the school wrestling programs to help pay for their travel, uniforms, and/or gear.
“We felt it was a great investment for our community to donate the money to open the gym to the public,” Houston said. “We want the public to feel the excitement of wrestling matches. If we can ignite a passion or a curiosity in a few kids because of the event, then it was money well spent.”