The City of North Mankato is excited to announce the Mankato Area Youth Wrestling Club will be officially transitioning operation to the City of North Mankato and Caswell Sports. Since its origin in the 1970’s, this program has provided children ages Kindergarten through 6th grade in our community the opportunity to learn the sport of wrestling.
“The Mankato Area Youth Wrestling Board is excited about taking this step in joining the City of North Mankato and Caswell Sports,” stated Jon Dierks, Mankato East High School Head Wrestling Coach. “We are hopeful that this will give us the resources and outlets to give the public the best product of wrestling possible and ultimately help feed into successful high school programs.”
Dutch Harnitz began the Mankato Area Wrestling Club in the 1970’s as a spring program with a focus on the Olympic styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman. In the 1990’s, East High School established its own elementary wrestling club (thanks to the hard work of local parents during its formative years) that practiced folk style in the winter, which was eventually passed down to Jon Dierks in 2005. Mankato Area Youth Wrestling Club united both the East and West Elementary clubs in 2013. Olympic style practices were led in the winter season by then-president Chris Willaert. The program’s upcoming 2021-22 season will continue to function in the winter season, from November through March.
“We are excited to add youth wrestling to our family of youth sports in North Mankato,” says Caswell Youth Sports Coordinator Neil Kaus. “Our mission is to always provide the highest quality of youth sports programming for kids in Kindergarten through 6th grade.” Caswell Sports Director Phil Tostenson added, “This agreement brings more opportunities for economic impact to the North Mankato region with the addition of competitions for youth wrestling members.”
The City is continuing work on plans to build an indoor recreation facility at Caswell Park that will incorporate youth programming such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball, and now youth wrestling. This facility and partnership will provide an opportunity to provide year-round programming for youth sports in this area.
Information for families and participants of the Mankato Area Youth Wrestling Club can be found on the Caswell Sports website: www.caswellsports.com/youthwrestling