Grappling State

Eureka Youth Wrestling
A victorious wrestler let her joy shine.

Hang a map of Kansas on the wall. Then, close your eyes and throw a dart at the map. Unless you are a terrible shot and miss completely, the projectile is sure to land within a short distance of a youth wrestling meet during the winter months. In the upcoming month of February alone, parents or coaches can select from an array of 22 youth tournaments, according to the USA Wrestling website. 

The same site also cites that wrestling “builds character, teaches kids how to overcome obstacles, handle their emotions, respect authority, the importance of being a good teammate, and that success has to be earned through hard work and determination.” Oh, and every muscle in a wrestler’s body is tested to its limits in ways most sports can never duplicate. 

The reality is that, generally, many kids love to wrestle. It might be on the freshly cut grass of a front yard, in a dusty schoolyard or on an actual wrestling mat. The sport grabs a hold on them and never lets go making wrestling so popular for boys and girls, and why meets are contested in every county of this grappling-mad state.  

In the city of Eureka, in Greenwood County, young wrestlers of all skill levels and ages competed on January 16. Club coaches twisted and turned in synch with their wrestlers as they shouted instructions. Proud parents lined the mats with iPhones in hand, recording every move. Encouragement was endless. Hugs and kisses always awaited. However, most importantly, smiles abounded.

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Jeff Jacobsen has photographed practically every big event the sports world has to offer during a professional career that spans over 52 years. Jacobsen has seen things up close that only a diehard sports fan could in their dreams. His work for the Topeka Capital-Journal, Arizona Republic, Kansas Athletics, Inc., many national publications and now Action Images Photography, Inc., cemented his reputation as one of the nation’s finest sports photographers.

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