BELGRADE – 313 young wrestlers, age 4 to 12 came to the Belgrade Events Center on Saturday for the Little Guys state wrestling tournament.

“I think the best part about it,” said tournament Director, Ashley Turnquist, “is that it teaches kids to lose on their own and also to win on their own. And it teaches them how to have good character, and be responsible for their own training and execution of what they’ve learned.”

And yes, girls wrestle too. Five-year-old McKinley Hyde from Gallatin Gateway earned a dominating win over her opponent.

“I like that you get to wrestle people and spending time with my friends,” explained Mckinley. When asked what the most fun part of wrestling is, she answered simply, “Pinning girls.”

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Cal Douglas, is the coach of the host Belgrade team. He watched his son, Lewis, come from behind to win his match.

“Oh man,” exclaimed Douglas. “It’s been an honor. It’s such a thrill and emotional roller coaster but it’s one of the funnest things, just to see him go out there and never quit, get a pin, even when they’re down a little bit. Really proud of all the kids here from all the teams. It’s truly inspiring and a great bunch of guys, great bunch.”

After watching a day of wrestling, Douglas was even more convinced about the good things the sport brings to young kids.

“It teaches you how to win graciously, and how to lose with some grace too and know that you just got to keep fighting, keep getting back up, keep going after it. And so, I love and the kids seem to love it too. They get to get out here and get rough and rowdy.”

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