(KMSP) - Thousands descended on Rochester this weekend for the 2017 Kids Folkstyle Wrestling Tournament, and kids from across the state have spent months getting ready.
At JJ Trained Wrestling School, patience is a virtue… but so is toughness.
“We take a lot of pride in hard work here,” said coach Jeff Wichern. “We want to prepare the kids physically and mentally, so there's no excuse come the state tournament.”
Fox 9 first introduced you to Wichern when his students surprised him on his day job as a metro transit bus driver. He spends many an evening training the next generation of wrestlers, and it all leads up to this weekend's tournament in Rochester.
“This year, I want to win state, I'm going in as older of the group and I really want to win,” said wrestler Will Sather.
“I’m looking forward to wrestling because I just want to get it over with, because it's like super intense now. Everybody's like, “state! state!” said wrestler Leonard Tukhlynovych.
“It's pretty fun to go down there, because the medals are huge,” wrestler Jacory Bates added.
“What I'm looking to for state is trying to do my best and trying to go for first,” said wrestler Mikayla Baker.
Baker has been wrestling with the boys for six years...
“I like how it's fun and you can do whatever you want when you're wrestling,” she said.
After months of training here and all over the state, young wrestlers are ready to take on the best.
But Wichern says getting a medal this weekend won't tell the whole story for these competitors.
“I talked to the kids and it's not always about winning or losing. It's about effort, and as long every kid wrestles their hardest, knowing they left it all on the mat, that will make me happy,” he said.