The first big wrestling test of the season starts Friday in Mandan. It's the 45th Annual Lions Classic and it features a dozen teams form North and South Dakota. Rapid City Central is the defending Lions champion.
"It's nice because we get a nice challenge and it makes for a good competitive environment. Then we see these guys when we go down to the Rapid City Invite and then all the other North Dakota teams we see at the Bismarck Rotary coming up," said Luke Mellmer, Mandan head coach.
Mellmer says the only way to get in competition shape is to face off on the mat and the Lions Classic format helps.
"Each kid is guaranteed five matches and then as soon as they're done with their five matches they go into a cross bracket to see who comes out on top. But it's nice to get those five matches right away in the beginning of the season," Mellmer said.
The Lions Classic is at the Mandan Middle School. The championship is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CST.