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Peewee finals the "Christmas of wrestling season"

Kids and families packed the Dillingham high school gym Wednesday night for the annual pee wee wrestling finals. 

Robyn Chaney, who organizes the peewee season, says it is the highlight of the wrestling year. 

"Peewee finals night is like the Christmas of our whole sports season! It’s all for fun, everybody’s a winner, and our whole community and parents have such pride in the work these kids put in. It’s great."

William Savo is head wrestling coach. He says during the three weeks of peewee wrestling, the kids learn the basics while having some fun:

"We work on half nelsons, cradles, just basic, old-fashioned wrestling. Then on bottom we work on referee's position and stand-ups. We kind of keep it basic. We try to play games every day in practice."

The final is similar to their daily drills, but with the added thrill of competing for bleachers full of parents, siblings and friends.  

The peewee season is a big fundraiser for high school wrestling season, and it’s also a chance for the older athletes to bring up the next batch of Wolverine wrestlers.

"A lot of them have siblings in there. I've got a boy in high school and a boy in middle school who coach their younger siblings in second grade and kindergarten... So part of it's giving back to the program they grew up in, and then, part of it's reinforcing their skills. It kind of helps to have them put a different hat on. You know, usually they're the student, Willie's coaching them, now they get a taste of what it feels like to be a coach and try and teach skills to younger kids."

Chaney says this year over 95 kids came out for peewee wrestling, which has been a spring tradition for nearly 40 years.

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Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG
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Robyn Chaney coordinates the peewee wrestling season.

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Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG
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Every peewee practice ends with a game that reinforces wrestling skills. Here they faced off for "King of the Mat" to finish out finals night.

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Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG
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Peewee youngsters showed off their basic wrestling skills at finals Wednesday night.

Contact the author at hannah@kdlg.org.