Up to 450 wrestlers hit the mat at Southern Boone High School in the 3rd annual Southern Boone Classic wrestling tournament Saturday sponsored by the Southern Boone YMCA. Classes from 6U to 14U were in competition. 

Kip Batye, Branch Director for the YMCA, says the tournament is important for the promotion of the sport in the community.

“We are hoping to put wrestling on the map. Wrestling is still new to our community and we hope to make Ashland a wrestling town,” he said. “We’re in our third year now and we’re bringing hundreds of visitors from all over central Missouri into our community and hopefully helping our businesses out today.”

The funds raised from tournament entry fees are split between the YMCA and the Southern Boone wrestling program.

Batye says it takes a village for a tournament this size to be successful and they rely on dozens of volunteers for the operation.

“We have high school wrestlers, wrestling parents, YMCA people and a lot of volunteers helping out. And it wouldn’t happen without our wrestling coaches and our high school coaches. This tournament would not be happening without them,” Batye emphasized.

By Frank Finley