While the International Olympic Committee might be eliminating wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games, the sport is still alive and well in South Brunswick.
Over 400 kids from 12 teams will compete in a day-long tournament at South Brunswick High School this Sunday as part of the Delaware River Wrestling League's end of the year tournament. The tournament will feature kids from ages 4- to 12-years-old.
"This league is designed for beginner wrestlers to give them more mat time and to match them by age, weight and skill level," said SBPAL Wrestling Director and Head Coach Martin Castimore.
The SBPAL program gets kids wrestling at an early age so they can get a leg up in experience before they move on to the middle school and high school level.
"Through wrestling kids learn hard work, discipline and commitment," Castimore said. "They also learn sportsmanship, which is the most important thing, and they learn how to wrestle."
The tournament Sunday will feature teams from all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with between 750 and 850 people expected to attend, according to Castimore.
"It's all about experience and mat time," he noted. "The earlier they get on the mat, and start getting coached, then by the time they get to high school they're going to be drawing on this past experience. Something they learn at 4-years-old, like a half-nelson, is the same move they will rely on at the high school today. If they have 8 or 9 years to perfect their skills as a wrestler and develop the routine of wrestling, the better they'll be. Wrestling isn't like football where athleticism always wins. Wrestling is about how hard you work and practice to see results on the mat."
The wrestling tournament will begin Sunday at 8 a.m. in the SBHS gymnasium, located at 750 Ridge Road in Monmouth Junction.