Slammers begin march toward state tourney
Members of the Slammer Wrestling Club have spent the past four months training for the State Tournament Championship Series.
Wrestlers ages five through 13 trained throughout the winter for the Championship Series. Last week they were joined by 12 Lansing High wrestlers who capped a strong high school season by placing fifth at the state meet.
Now at full strength, the Slammers are ready to put their months of training to the test as they begin the march toward the USA Wrestling Kansas Kids State Tournament. They will take the first step toward the state tournament Saturday when they travel to Shawnee Heights High school in Tecumseh to compete in the District 1 North Sub-District Tournament.
District 1 Sub-District North is home to several local wrestling clubs including the Fort Leavenworth Warriors, Slammers, Pleasant Ridge Rams and Tonganoxie Predators.
USA Wrestling Kansas Kids organizes the state into four districts with each district having two sub-districts. For wrestlers to make it to the state tournament, they must first place in the top four of their weight and age bracket at the sub-district tournament that qualifies them to wrestle in the district tournament.
Next, wrestlers must place in the top four at the district tournament to become a state qualifier. Then, the top 16 wrestlers from across Kansas will compete March 24-25 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka to determine who is the state champion.
This year, the Slammers will send 32 wrestlers to the sub-district tournament ranging from ages six to 16.
"While it would be nice to qualify all our wrestlers for the district tournament, moving 20 wrestlers forward is a realistic goal," coach Mike Flynn said. "We are very fortunate to be returning several USAW Kansas Kids and high school state champions and medalists to this tournament series. We expect to have several of our wrestlers medal high at (sub-districts)."
The Slammers are based out of Lansing, and they have more than 60 wrestlers on their roster that reside throughout Leavenworth County. The Slammers are led by head coach Aaron Yoakam, a four-year letter-winner out of Lansing High School.