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Toddler grapplers?

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Children between the ages of kindergarten and middle school may not be able to jump off any wrestling ring turnbuckles onto an opponent in reality, but at the moment they have settled with competing against some of the area’s rising young talent under a watchful eye. Although a handful of children have taken advantage of the opportunity, organizers are still encouraging to them to join the action after parents in Northumberland County expressed interest into such an idea.

From left is Brandon Risk and John McClain warming up for their next competition. The Northern Neck Wrestling Club is preparing for their big match on March 8, 6:45 p.m. at Northumberland High School.

“Obviously the best way to do that is to generate a youth program to foster and develop athletes at a younger age,” said President Hanks, of the Northern Neck Wrestling Association.

The organization started in May 2012 following desires by parents for the kids to have an opportunity to compete in wrestling. The goal was promote the sport and teach children the fundamentals.

“I think we’ve done that,” Hanks said, adding that the organization was accepted into the Peninsula Youth Wrestling League in October.

The league located in Hampton Roads includes teams from the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula through to Virginia Beach.

“We were hoping to get into something like that this year,” Hanks said. “Didn’t know if we could for sure, but they accepted us and we’re actually competing on a weekly basis now.”

The season runs from January-March, Hanks said adding that this suited the local organization.

“It fitted our needs and was just what we were looking for,” Hanks said. “My goal is to take these kids to a competitive level, but more importantly introduce a youth program in this area that can foster good number one: good physical fitness for the kids no matter wrestling or any other athletics [program] and to also produce better athletes in the high school level.”

Hanks said he has a knowledgeable group of coaches including head coach Steven Scripture and is assisted by wrestlers from the high school. But the president said he does not want to limit the association to children from Northumberland, but also see others join from around the Northern Neck.

“We’ll take any member from any age. I even have some adult members who are considering to compete at some open events,” Hanks said.

For more information about the Northern Neck Wrestling League, you can mail them at P.O. Box 145 Heathsville, VA; on Facebook; or call 804-370-2191.