Wrestling: Visitors up the ante for Bay champs

A team of juniors from Southern California will add some international spice to the Bay of Plenty Olympic style wrestling championships at Tauranga Boys' College.

The team, led by renown coach Kyle Iwanaga, have already competed in three tournaments since arriving in New Zealand, with the 12 wrestlers narrowly beaten by a New Zealand junior team last Friday night in Wellington, the day before they competed in the New Zealand club championships.

They bussed north from Wellington with the Katikati and Mount Maunganui teams on Sunday, taking on a Bay of Plenty junior team in Katikati on Monday night, with Bay of Plenty winning 8-5.

Katikati wrestling spokesman Andy Roche said the team would add plenty to Sunday's Bay champs, which would also be bolstered by a big contingent from outside the region.

"We [Katikati] will front with about 20 wrestlers and I'd imagine Mark [Grayling] will have 15 or 20 from his Mount club, but there's also quite a few coming from Hamilton, Te Awamutu and all of the Auckland clubs.

"Add in the 12 from So-Cal and it should be a fantastic day."

Grayling and Roche took a New Zealand junior team to California in 2008, with Roche saying Iwanaga was on his third visit to New Zealand: "Because he's been out here several times, he's well versed on what standard of wrestler to bring to New Zealand."

The Californians had a competition in Hamilton last night and head to Auckland next week for four days of training and competition.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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