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Local youth wrestlers ready for state finale

Owatonna Wrestling Academy, team, tournament, NYWA
The OWA team takes a photo at the MN/USA state tournament. OWA has 14 athletes headed to NYWA state this weekend. Photo courtesy Owatonna Wrestling Academy
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

The Owatonna Wrestling Academy, owned by Molly and Brad Busho, is set to end another youth wrestling season this weekend, when members of the team travel to Rochester for the Northland Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA) state tournament.

While another wrestling season may come to an end, the hard work and love for the sport that drives OWA’s values takes no days off.

According to owner Brad Busho, the goal behind opening the OWA was simple: giving back to the sport and the community.

The idea was generated with myself and two fellow youth coaches at the time. Jeremy Jirele, who is our head youth folkstyle coach, and Jason Lindquist, who runs our freestyle program at the Owatonna Wrestling Academy. As past wrestlers who are still dedicated to the sport, we felt we had more to offer and wanted to create a culture for the kids that consists of hard work, dedication, and respect. We have a room full of dedicated coaches with tons of wrestling experience to offer our kids, and we could not operate without our coaching staff and helpers in the room,” Busho said of his team.

While the academy is located in Owatonna, athletes from around southern Minnesota regularly make the trip to town to train in the room.

“The majority of our kids are from Owatonna, but we also have kids from New Richland, Blooming Prairie, Medford, Waterville, Dover-Eyota, Kasson, and other surrounding communities. We want wrestlers from all over in our room. ‘Iron sharpens iron’ is our mentality, and we want everyone to be the best version of themselves. Kids set their goals, and we help them achieve them and keep them accountable. 

The youth wrestlers are ready to hit the mats for their final competition of the season when the team heads to the Mayo Civic Center from April 4-7, with state glory on the line.

The local organization will send 14 athletes into their respective brackets with hopes of bringing home a few state titles.

Owatonna will have a few potential top seeds in Levi Oeltjenbruns and Tucker Anderson, both of whom won their respective weight brackets in the region tournament to advance to state.

OWA already had its first state champion crowned this season when member Kaden Lindquist – also a state qualifier for the MSHSL state tournament as an eighth-grader – won his bracket at the MN/USA state tournament just two weeks prior.

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