Milbank is adding sixth grade wrestling to its middle school program this upcoming 2019-2020 season. According to MHS Athletic Director Adolph Shepardson, “Approval was granted by the Milbank School Board in June and things are ready to roll for this season.”
Middle school wrestling begins on Monday, November 18 – the same as the high school program – and runs through the home meet on January 3.
The sixth-grade athletes will then focus on their AAU schedule through early February before joining the rest of the middle schoolers at the state middle school tournament in Pierre later in February.
By rule, the sixth-grade athletes will not be allowed to wrestle high school athletes. A separate practice area in the school lunchroom will be set up for the middle school wrestlers. Practices will conclude by 5 or 5:30 p.m. each day and no practices will be held on Wednesdays.
“Having our own practice area will be beneficial to the middle school wrestlers,” says middle school coach Josh Schmeichel. “It will also be great to have extra wrestlers in practice. This will give us a huge advantage in pairing up wrestlers during practice. By adding
more athletes, I should be able to fill in the gaps in weight classes and by ability.”
The addition of sixth graders to the school program was prompted by parents of several elementary students, who approached Shepardson with the idea. “During my research, I discovered several schools in the state have already implemented a sixth-grade wrestling program,” Shepardson says. “Schools such as Aberdeen Central, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Redfield-Doland, Sisseton, Sturgis, Watertown, and Webster are already running with sixth grade.”
Shepardson says Pierre was the pioneer school and is considered the most dominant high school program in the state. “I believe this will give a big boost to our program as they get an extra year of working with our staff, learning the basics, having fun, and going out to compete in middle school events to experience some success before they get into the high school program. This will also help them compete with teams such as Huron, Pierre, and Mitchell, and get a few more kids to a state tournament. We hope to get more kids interested and see our numbers grow.”
“I’m excited to see them in the mix,” says Schmeichel. “Being around the youth program during the past few years, I can see many of the sixth graders are ready for something different and more challenging.”
Athletes must have completed their athletic physical requirements before they will be allowed to practice.
Questions? Contact Shepardson at the MHS office at 605.432.5546.