Off-season Calendar

Please note that we’ll continue to add wrestling events to our online calendar as we learn about them.  There’s a wrestling tournament almost every weekend somewhere if you are willing to make the drive.  Many off-season tournaments are “open” tournaments, meaning you’ll see non-IKWF members wrestling such as high school and college wrestlers.  Sometimes, you might even see a coach from our team or other local teams wrestling!

Some off-season tournaments spotlight different styles of wrestling, too.  Our “normal” style of wrestling is called folkstyle or collegiate wrestling.  There is also freestyle–very much like folkstyle but with different scoring–and Greco-Roman.  If you have a background in martial arts, there are even grappling tournaments.

Here are a few places to look for off-season tournaments:

Junior Wildcat Wrestlers Place at Bantam State Championship

Joliet—The A-J Junior Wildcat Wrestling Club had one of the most monumental days in its club’s history on February 10, 2013.  Not one but two of the club’s wrestlers placed in the Bantam State Championship.

“It’s like everything else in Illinois,” said club president Rollie Hawk. “There’s Illinois and then there’s southern Illinois.  You can have all the success you want locally but nobody takes you seriously until you go up north and take care of business.”

On Sunday, two of the Junior Wildcats’ top grapplers did exactly that.

The Bantam State Championship featured 600 of the top six-, seven- and eight-year-old wrestlers in Illinois.  Among them were eight-year-old Grover Blake Mays and six-year-old Drew Sadler from the A-J Junior Wildcat squad.

Drew Sadler wrestled in the 46-pound bracket and went 2-2 for the day, finishing in fourth place out of twelve.  “He’s just a second-year wrestler and is already seeing a lot of success,” explained club president Rollie Hawk.

Grover Blake Mays wrestled in the 64-pound bracket and went 3-1 for the day, finishing second out of twelve.  “To top it off, Blake earned his 99th IKWF win today,” said head coach and father Grover Mays.  “He’s now 46-6 for the year.”

“For a couple of wrestlers aged eight and under, these young men are setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the team,” said Hawk.  “A lot of people might say they are just naturals at wrestling but you have to see how they work to fully appreciate it.  These kids don’t take a weekend off from tournaments.  They drive to Herrin every week for extra practices.  They wrestle in the off-season.  They put in the time and demonstrate that there is absolutely no substitute for hard work.”

Junior Wildcats Compete in O’Fallon Girls Division

O’Fallon—The O’Fallon Panther Pummel is always one of the bigger junior wrestling tournaments in Illinois.  What made this year special is that for the first time it featured a girls-only division.

Twenty-seven lady grapplers competed in this, one of four IKWF tournaments this year including a girls division.  This made it the second largest regular-season gathering of female wrestlers in Illinois wrestling history.

Four of those girls were A-J Junior Wildcats.

Wrestling at 41.6 pounds was six-year-old Zoee Sadler who went 0-3 for the day and finished fourth.  “She wrestled her heart out,” bragged father and coach Andy Sadler.  “She was all heart.”

Eight-year-old Madilyn Hawk wrestled at 96.2 pounds in both the girls and boys divisions, finishing 1-4 for the day with two third place trophies.  “She earned the respect of a lot of wrestlers and coaches for competing in both divisions, including me,” explained father and coach Rollie Hawk.

Jacy Mays wrestled at 80.2 pounds and went 1-1 for the day, finishing second.  “Jacy has become a much better wrestler than her record reflects,” said Hawk.  “She’s a first year wrestler and starting older than most of our kids.  But she’s stuck it out and is showing a lot of improvement.”

Rounding out the girls on the squad was Catie Mays who wrestled at 88.2 pound and finished 2-0 for the day, earning first place for the first time this year.  “Catie is only a second-year wrestler but is one of our hardest workers and is becoming one of our main leaders on the team,” said Hawk.  “We were glad to finally see her finish in first.”

Eight boys also made the long trip to O’Fallon.  Complete results are below.





Sadler, Zoee



0-3, 4th

Sadler, Drew



2-1, 2nd

Smith, Brett



0-3, 4th

Mays, Caleb



1-2, 3rd

Mays, Blake



3-0, 1st

Hawk, Madilyn



0-2, 3rd (girls) & 1-2, 3rd (boys)

Smith, Dylan




Mays, Jacy



1-1, 2nd

Mays, Adam



0-5, 6th

Mays, Catie



2-0, 1st

Fombelle, Jeff



0-3, 4th

Jimenez, Nick



1-1, 2nd