The Middletown Wresting Club (MWC) will host a tournament for local youth at the Florence Gray Center, 1 York, Street, Newport, this Saturday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m.  Approximately 25 Newport County boys and girls ranging in age from 7 to 12 have signed up and are weighed in to participate. The Club anticipates that additional young people from other parts of the state and their parents will also be on hand, and it encourages local families whose children have an interest in learning more about the sport of wresting to attend. The club’s mission is to bring a positive, healthy, no-cost and gender-neutral activity to the community while instilling self-discipline and confidence in participating youth. Youth participating in the May 25 competition will receive t-shirts and trophies, and a team photo will be taken. There is no admission charged and all are welcome.

The Club recently relocated its practice and competition venue to the Florence Gray Center gym, located in Newport’s North End where, two times a week, children from across Newport County ranging in age from pre-kindergartener to “tweens,” come together to participate in skill-building exercises. These MWC practice sessions are run in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County.

The organizers of the club, which originally met at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, desired to bring youth wresting to a broader audience within Newport County and to secure a larger and more accessible space for its practices and competitions. Organizers were able to expand the Club’s footprint and secure the Florence Gray Center location with the financial support of a Newport Hospital Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund award. The goal of these “Powered by Prince” mini grants is to help enhance the lives of children and families throughout Newport County through programs that promote active, healthy lifestyles, education, and fun for youth, which aligned closely to the mission of the MWC. The Club also recently received a sponsorship gift from the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County to support the Club’s objective of marketing the program to all Newport County communities.

The expansion to Newport was also fueled by the enthusiastic response to the sport of wresting from Pell School students and their parents. To increase local youth exposure to the sport, MWC coaches approached Pell Elementary School principal, Traci Westman, with the idea of staging a demonstration during the school day with the goal of piquing an interest for wrestling among these children who were also sent home with information to share with their parents about the MWC no-cost, neighborhood wresting clinics. Club organizers strive to keep the young participants enthusiastically engaged in the sport through the middle school years, preparing them for successful participation in wresting at the high school level. According to MWC program director, Spencer McCombe, “This has been a collaborative effort throughout the community, and we are exciting to see it flourish.”

To learn more about the Middletown Youth Wresting Club, a 501c3 non-profit organization, please contact, program director, Spencer McCombe at (401) 662-6338, coach Claro Dimen at (401) 829-3129 or coach Mike Everin at (401) 430-6299.