Minnesota is often known for producing some great hockey players, but wrestling is where Southern Minnesota really shines. From Apple Valley to Albert Lea, Owatonna to Zumbrota-Mazeppa greatness can be found on the mat year round. This weekend will feature three important events at the RCTC Regional Sports Center in Rochester, Minn. this week, combining many of the nation’s top Olympic hopefuls, with elite Junior wrestlers and top youth competitors from the region and beyond.

USA Wrestling will be having the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, which include Senior-level stars in men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle, who are seeking to advance to the new Final X series and ultimately berths on the U.S. World Team.

Another exciting event held during the weekend is the UWW Junior Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials, in which the winners earn the right to compete at the 2018 UWW Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia in September. UWW Juniors are between the ages of 17-20 and include many of the top high school and college underclassmen in the nation. One of those top talents that will be competing is Gable Stevenson of Apple Valley.

The final major competition in Rochester this weekend is the Northern Plains Regionals, which features top wrestlers from Northern Plains states, as well as the rest of the nation, competing in freestyle and Greco-Roman in six age divisions. The age groups are Bantam (7-8 years old), Intermediate (9-10 years old), Novice (11-12 years old), Schoolboy/girl (13-14 years old), Cadet (15-16 years old) and Juniors (grades 9-12).

So if you enjoy amateur wrestling Rochester is going to be your mecca this weekend. Look at it this way, when is the last time you got to see future Olympians compete locally?