THOR wrestling club garners top honor
Four years ago, former Minneota wrestler J. D. Pesch moved his family back to Minneota. He brought with him an idea for an innovative “THOR Wrestling Club”, a regional Freestyle/Greco Club which draws wrestlers from southwestern Minnesota and trains in Minneota.
On Sunday in Woodbury, the THOR Wrestling Club achieved the highest award for the 2017 MN/USA Wrestling Season when it was named, “2017 Club of the Year”.
The two-year old wrestling club earned the award based on participation at tournaments, placing at state, enthusiasm for the sport, good sportsmanship and club representation.
“It was mentioned that our club had an impressive rate of growth in just two years of existence and the fact that we get so much participation at tournaments,” said Coach Pesch.
“It was also pointed out that we have very good ‘club unity’ with wrestlers and coaches from many communities. We all wear the Thor gear and cheer for each other, even though we compete against each other during folkstyle,” Pesch added.
The wrestling club is a chartered USA Wrestling Club and is managed and coached by J.D. Pesch, Wade Gillund, Travis Christenson and Steve Banks.
Coach Pesch has over 24 years of Freestyle/Greco Club experience, and started two other clubs over the years, “Ghostriders/Scott West Wrestling” and “Valley Elite” of LeSueur, MN.
The club achieved high honors of state champions in Greco Roman and the third place team in state for Freestyle behind first place Forest Lake and second place St. Michael Academy.
“These placings are based on an entire years worth of participation in tournaments, qualifiers at state, state placers, and regional/national participation and placers. We had great participation this year. Kids are starting to understand the sport, and seeing results from competing and how much fun these different wrestling styles can be,” said Pesch.
One Member of Thor Wrestling Club has achieved the high honor of a “Triple Crown”. Lincoln Christenson of Marshall was state champion in ALL three styles of wrestling — Greco, Freestyle and Folkstyle.
“I believe this is the first member of any club I have coached to achieve this high honor,” Pesch added. The club also has clinicians/coaches from SDSU, SMSU, including Riley Molitor, Brock Buysse and Antonio Mikel, as well as former University of Minnesota Gopher and USA World Team Member wrestler Dan Zilverberg.
The first year, 2016, “We had 52 wrestlers, aged five-18 from towns around the area,” Pesch said.
“In our second year, 2017, we had over 70 wrestlers, from Minneota, Marshall, Canby, United (Dawson-Boyd, Madison) and Morris Area.”
“We have kids driving over an hour two times a week for practice.” Thor Wrestling Club has been extremely successful and has exceeded all expectations for coaches and from parents the past two years.
“We practice two nights a week starting in mid-March and wrestle at 7-10 tournaments across the state,” Coach Pesch added.