Mat Maulers Wrestling
In 1981 Rick Griffith, a student teacher at Medical Lake High School (MLHS) and former wrestler, and Jeff King, a MLHS Varsity Wrestler, had the idea to begin a kids wrestling club in Medical Lake. Rick and I (Wayne Terry) attended the same church, so when he saw me there he asked if I'd like to be a part of the club. I jumped at the chance. The Medical Lake Park & Recreation Dept. was approached by Rick and Jeff to supply insurance coverage and other benefits, making the club and official Medical Lake Park & Recreation program.
We began our practices late in the winter, so late in fact that baseball was starting practice for the varsity. Rick was one of the baseball coaches which required his presence and left him attending only one practice with the fledgling club. When Rick left the club the responsibilities fell upon Jeff and me. The word had gone out to the ML grade school and Jr. High School and we had 17 boys ages 5-14 that formed our club. The first year, we conditioned our boys, taught them a few moves, and how to wrestle. At that time, we didn't know of the existence of any other youth wrestling clubs, so we did not have any real competition other than each other in practice.
The second season began, and our practices started earlier in the year. Our numbers had doubled and we boasted an attendance of 34 excited and energetic young boys. Every night after I got home from work, I'd get on the phone and try to contact school officials, teachers, and coaches from any school remotely in the area, in search of another club for our boys to wrestle. Many times I would call seven or eight different people before I found the person that could say for sure that their school had no kids wrestling program. With much persistence, I located the only other school having a kids club, which was Chewelah Mat Cats. For whatever reason, there were no dads involved with our program at this time, so on the designated date, we loaded all of our wrestlers into the cars of the wrestler’s moms and made the drive to Chewelah. Since we were going to wrestle the "MAT CATS", we couldn't be without a name for our club, at which time we became the "MAT MAULERS" Wrestling Club. We arrived at the high school gymnasium, unloaded, warmed up, wrestled our team against theirs, and essentially our season was over. We continued to practice for a while but the thrill of the competition was over for the year.
The third year of our existence welcomed a new team from
Year number four showed major growth in new teams, as
Year number five brought another team from Wilbur to our group, and increased the total number of wrestlers to 150, at our organizational meeting, Dennis Turner, the Coach/Director from the Liberty club, suggested that we form a league and with the support of the four other team Coaches/Directors, the "WASHINGTON LITTLE GUY WRESTLING LEAGUE" was born. Now with each team hosting a tournament we wrestled a total of 5 tournaments. During the first five years of the Mat Maulers existence we found a few other teams in
Our club continued to grow each year and at one point we enrolled 140 young wrestlers in the Mat Maulers club. Eventually Rearden formed a new team which took 25 of our kids who lived in the Rearden area. That gave us a little more room to practice. Then Cheney came on board and started a club as well and relieved our numbers by taking another 25 wrestlers from their area. After that our club seemed to plateau between 100 and 120 wrestlers where we are at the present.