By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

A packed Brookings-Harbor High School gym played host to tykes of all shapes and sizes at the Brookings-Harbor Mat Club Borderline Tournament Saturday afternoon.

andquot;It was our best turnout ever,andquot; mat club board member Renee Mazyck said. andquot;We had a lot of new parents in the club that were awesome in helping us put this together.andquot;

Because of financial trouble, the mat club almost didn't have their annual tournament this year.

andquot;Without the help from the parents and community, we wouldn't have been able to put on the tournament,andquot; Mazyck said. andquot;Now, with the money raised, we can buy new singlets for the kids.andquot;

Everyone involved with the mat club, from board members to coaches, do so on a volunteer basis.

But they don't do it for themselves; they get involved for the benefit of the kids.

andquot;The most important thing is that they try their hardest and they have fun,andquot; volunteer coach Shawn Musser said. andquot;It also teaches them self-confidence and responsibility.andquot;

The mat club is a great tool for coaches and parents to start instilling basic life skills and values in their youth.

andquot;The kids bond with each other and build a lot of team camaraderie with each other,andquot; Mazyck said. andquot;It also helps them a lot with their confidence level.andquot;

But the mat club hasn't forgotten that sports can't be the only focus for youth.

andquot;It helps them with school, too,andquot; Musser said. andquot;If they don't do well in school, they don't wrestle.andquot;

Brookings-Harbor wrestlers did well Saturday and, win or lose, usually left the mat with a smile on their face.

Helping with the positive experiences were the ever-encouraging coaches, who never yelled at the wrestlers, but always offered advice and a pat on the back after a tough match.

Members of the high school wrestling team, many of whom participated in the mat club when they were younger, volunteered their time as scorekeepers, timekeepers and referees.

andquot;The high school kids are always a big help,andquot; Mazyck said. andquot;I'd also like to thank all the sponsors for donating their time and money.andquot;

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