Reno Tournament of Champions provides unique experience for wrestlers across the country

Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 5:17 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 2,500 wrestlers called the Biggest Little City home this weekend.

The Reno Tournament of Champions hosted competitors from 30 different states at a number of different levels.

Tyson Thivierge brought his program from Havre, Montana more than 1,000 miles away.

“Not only do we get to showcase our program in the duals, but we get to recruit a high school tournament, and then we end the weekend with college competition,” Thivierge said.

The tournament was also good to former Reed Raider, Israel Casarez, who competes for NAIA powerhouse Grand View University.

“We get to touch different divisions, get to see other guys, and it reminds us that wrestling isn’t any different between divisions. We’re here to compete,” said Casarez.

Sunday’s college showcase allowed Casarez to work toward winning a championship in Reno against wrestlers from bigger schools such as Michigan State University.

With so many bodies in town, Reno also became a recruiting hotbed.

“It’s huge. I’ve talked to about 15 kids while I was here,” Thivierge said, who represents Montana State University-Northern.

Tournament owner Jack Dolan has seen the competition change lives.

“(Participants) place in our tournament, and more than likely they get a scholarship,” said Dolan. “The letters we’ve gotten over the years from parents saying ‘thank you, our kid is going to school’ that is very rewarding for us.”

The next step, more girls. Tournament Director Ryan Teubner has that on his to-do list.

“High school girls wrestling is really up and coming,” he said. “We want to be able to grow that and make it a two-day tournament at some point. We just need to grow it.”

For more information on the tournament, click here.