MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a college wrestling room that has produced 11 national team titles and numerous individual champions, a group of kids is beginning their own wrestling journey.

“Whether you’re feeling a little trouble at work or life in general, and you  get knocked down, this sport is all about how you get back up,” organizer Justin Benjamin said.

And that’s exactly what the wrestlers in the Minneapolis Wrestling Club are all about.

Last summer, six Minneapolis dads wanted to find a way to bridge the wrestling gap between youth and high school.

Augsburg College was on board with the idea, and offered up their wrestling room.

“We tried it, and I liked it so we kept doing it,” 9-year-old Justin Benjamin Jr. said.

What really sets this club apart from other youth sports clubs around the Twin Cities is that it offers a lot without asking for anything in return.

“We are a free program,” Benjamin said. “We don’t ask for a participation fee, and we try to provide the same kind of opportunities and resources that a paid club would.”

And that allows kids from all different backgrounds to participate. Normally, a program like this would cost about $150 per kid. But thanks to donations and fundraising, there’s no charge.

The club has figured out a way to take down an obstacle, and allow these kids to know what it’s like to be part of a team.

“That’s the whole win of this program,” coach Johnny Surprise said. “To see the kids that maybe wouldn’t have a chance to get in a room like this and participate and get better at something they really haven’t tried before. That’s what we want to see and that’s the kids we’re trying to attract to make this sport even better.”

Right now there are about 20 kids in the Minneapolis Wrestling Club, ranging in age from 7 to 14.

You can help the club by clicking here, or sending contributions to this address:

MPLS Wrestling Club
PO Box 68062
Minneapolis, MN 55418

John Lauritsen

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