Nearly 20 youth wrestlers from Lansing traveled to Topeka Friday for the youth state championship this weekend.
A total of 19 wrestlers between the ages of 7-17 will represent the Lansing part of the Lions Elite Wrestling Club.
The 19 wrestlers competing this year are Kylie Medill, Carson Ellington, Tucker Simpson, Riley Dilka, Andrew Garcia, Malachi Tinnel, Calvin Sholey, Andrew Shields, Noah Bailey, Pierce Cunningham, Gabriel Bailey, Jayden Byrd, Aden Leftwhich, Luciano Riggi, Justin Shields, Mitchell Waters, Marshall Waters, Jeremy Welch and Sawyer Jorgensen.
Ronald Riggi said there are about six kids who will be attending the state tournament for the first time. He said he hopes the program can add more state champions to the history books.
The program is in its fourth year.
The program started after the Leavenworth County program got too large.
“Really, it is all about (the wrestlers)”, Ronald Riggi said. “We as parents and the community just step back and let them execute their passion. Because ultimately it is their journey, not ours.”
The various youth wrestlers are excited for the tournament, including Noah Bailey. Bailey said he is very excited.
“(I’m most excited about) hopefully placing,” Bailey said.
Tucker Simpson said he is good and ready to go.
Luciano Riggi has been wrestling for a few years now and he said he is most excited about wrestling new people. Riley Dilka is ready just to wrestle at state.
Prior to leaving for the tournament Friday, the club hosted a good luck party at Lansing Middle School with each wrestler getting various custom gear for the tournament. The gear includes a backpack, jogger shirt, jogger pants, pillow blanket, a hat and a headband with the items signifying the Lion Elite member making the state team.
Coach Joel Bailey said the items the wrestlers got were all paid for through the various sponsors of the program.
“I was floored at the end of our wrestling tournament,” Bailey said. “We sold out of official sponsors and table sponsors in a day and a half.”
Sponsors include Judith Reinhold, Dream Worth Creations, Geoffrey C. Sonntag Attorney at Law, Murray, Tillotson & Burton Chartered, Attorneys at Law, Caraway Printing, April Valley Farms, Westar Energy, Luxury & Imports, CNS, Butler’s Muffler & Auto Repair, J.F. Denny Plumbing & HVAC, Studdard Moving Group, Buddy Rodgers and Son Professional Lawn Service, Midland, Rubber Duck Outfitters, Retro Diner, Furry Friend Sleepovers, Logan Auto Repair & Towing, Russell Broom Plumbing, Discount Carpets, Herken’s Automotive, Ichiban Japanese Sushi & Steak House, Shiney Car Care, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agent Kim Vanek and Waters Feed Co.