Introduction & History
The December 2016, 32nd Annual Northern Badger Wrestling tournament will truly be awesome! This tournament continues to be the premier winter tournament in our region and has always been a gigantic success and a great boost for the athletes, coaches, fans and our wonderful community. I am personally grateful to our own club, parents and volunteers. These people truly produce this event to be the colossal tournament that it is.
In 1985, several area coaches felt a holiday tournament was needed. These coaches started this tournament in Menomonie at the Johnson Field house with a 24-team field of competition. It has now grown to 39 teams from all over the state of Wisconsin. We do make a specific effort not to include any Minnesota teams; with the event highlighting our own Wisconsin programs. Recently, in the past few years, we made exceptions by including some other (not-so-near) states. In 2005, we had a team from Arizona and in 2006; we had a team from Chugiak, Alaska. The Chugiak’s won their state championship in 2005 and was looking for some tough competition. In their own words, they certainly found it here in River Falls. Chugiak finished runner-up. They were very grateful for the opportunity and impressed with our community and willingness to include them. Recently I had some conversations with a coach in Alabama about future participation. They are seriously considering it; however, timing and funds will ultimately tell what their future is.
After a quick scan of the coaches this year, 19 of them had been participants in this actual tournament. The tournament has only had three four-time champions and two of them are from River Falls, Kevin Black and Collin Cudd and Spring Valley’s Tyler Turner. All three of those wrestlers went on to be UW-Badgers and competed for their entire college career as varsity wrestlers. Throughout the years, I have had numerous college coaches and recruiters that have contacted me about athletes that compete in the Northern Badger tournament. Many athletes unknowingly gave themselves an opportunity to wrestle in college from those coaches that watched them at this tournament.
As I mention college wrestlers, did you know that River Falls Wrestling alumni - Brady Cudd, Joe Cudd, Kevin Black, Tony Black, Collin Cudd and Trevor Brandvold have all been wrestlers for the Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA Division 1) in the past? Those six wrestlers had 17 Northern Badger championship titles between them. This speaks extremely well of the tournament and this River Falls program.
I look forward to seeing all of you at this awesome event!
Yours in Wrestling, Dave Black