SIKESTON - For its first season the heartland AAU wrestling team is taking 17 wrestlers to the state tournament at Northwest High School in Fenton.
"This tournament is what the kids have worked for all year," said head coach Dan Ruby. "This is a great opportunity for these wrestlers to show their talent. We have kids here that never wrestled before this season and now they're going to St. Louis and winning big tournaments. I think its great to have a couple good wrestlers on a team but I think we will have a strong full line up."
Going to the State tournament in the 7-and-under division are Gage Barber, Garrett Middleton, Matthew Schmidt and Trevor Wheatley.
"These kids are young and have improved so much," said Ruby. "I think they will be the future of Heartland wrestling in the next few years."
In the 8 and 9-year-old division is Blake Angle, Cody Middleton, Greg Crider, Katarious Harrington, Stephen Wheatley and Dustin Ruby.
Kenneth Moy and Darian Dicus are in the 12-and-under age group.
"We have some very intense practices with this group of boys," said Ruby. "Dustin, Kenneth, Darian, Blake and Katarious have some very good practices where they push each other on the mat. These boys give it 110 percent when they're out there. The great thing about these kids is they're going to hit high school together with this type of drive to be winners. They're going to be a tough team for Sikeston.
In the 13- and 14-year-old division Cody Anderson, Ashton Cantrell and Tyler Dame.
"I look for Cody to do very well this weekend," said Ruby. "He has a very good attitude about working in practice. Tyler placed second in the St. Charles tournament and I look for him to do well also. Ashton has done very well this season I think he has a good chance at placing."
In the high school division is Darris Butler and Ryan Dicus.
"I look to have a very good weekend," said Ruby. "For the first year I'm very pleased to see this many kids going to the state championships. Sikeston has some very talented young wrestlers and I see Sikeston dominating wrestling in Southeast Missouri in the next several years."