by Mike Knaak
Chat with Nick Gruber for any length of time and the word you’ll hear most often is opportunity.
Gruber, who coaches youth wrestling in Sartell, wants to create an opportunity for girls to have their own wrestling team instead of participating in co-ed activities.
Gruber says there’s growing interest in wrestling teams for girls and women and the Sartell Wrestling Club plans to offer the chance this season.
The club offers youth wrestling for kids from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade. Two girls compete with the boys.
“We recognize that girls and women’s wrestling is growing and we don’t want to be late to the game,” Gruber said. “Our goal is to offer that competition regardless of skill level and have an opportunity to compete against each other.”
The club’s season starts Dec. 4 and runs through late March. They practice at Sartell High School. There’s a tournament planned for Feb. 8 in Sartell.
Gruber said Sartell’s program for girls will be only the third one in Minnesota. But interest in the sport is growing. For example, Augsburg University in Minneapolis has a women’s team.
Gruber wrestled at Pierz when the team was state champions in 2004 and 2005. One son and a daughter are too young to hit the mat, but his 9-year-old son is in the program.
Parents and girls who are interested should check out the club’s website at sartellwrestling.com or the group’s Facebook page.
“Our belief is that giving kids an opportunity to wrestle, regardless of success, gives them great preparation for future,” Gruber said. “Learning the value of discipline and the amount of work you put in will shape the results you will have. A wrestling program will prepare you to handle life’s challenges.”