Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Rebels wrestling going strong

First home tournament set for March 5 in Willow River


Dawn Leino

Elsie Leino, Rebels Takedown Club wrestler, looks to her coach, Justin Stangeland, at a 2015 meet in Brainerd.

Since its inception as an idea in 2014, the Rebels Takedown Club has grown and is getting stronger. The club is hosting its first tournament on Saturday, March 5, at Willow River School.

Pete Thompson granted a phone interview on Saturday, February 27. "In 2014 my wife, Sarah, and I were going to Cloquet once a day. We had three boys that were wrestling and one didn't want to do the drive anymore. He was the leader and the other two just kind of went along with him. That's how it began," Thompson explained. "Sarah was in Willow River and talked to (Athletic Director) Dave Louzek. Then Scott Anderson was all on board. We started to advertise and sent flyers out to Moose Lake, Willow River, Barnum and eventually East Central. We were hoping for maybe 15 kids to sign up and we got 50; that was awesome," said Thompson.

Thompson continued, "Next we got permission from Moose Lake and Willow River to call it the 'Rebels Takedown Club.' We were excited. We worked together and got a 501c3 for a non-profit organization. We went to the Kiwanis and asked for donations. We also got donations from the Sturgeon Lake Lions Club, the Pine Riders in Willow River and the American Legion in Willow River. Also, we ended up with 10 local businesses helping out."

The club flourished. "We decided to have our own tournament this last November," said Thompson. "You can put information on and find out information about wrestling on a website called It's a website all about wrestling. I sought out other coaches through this and that's when we decided to have that first tournament."

The Rebels Takedown Club wrestlers have been busy. "We went to Proctor, Cloquet, Aitkin, Pine City, Rush City, Cambridge and Mora," stated Thompson. "At each one of these I'd talk to their coaches and try to give them the idea of attending our March tournament."

Peterson addressed the wide range of ages the Rebels Takedown Club serves and expressed high hopes for the future. "We are for boys and girls from as young as 3 years old on up through seniors in high school. We are now going to be hosting our first tournament in Willow River on Saturday, March 5. A long-term goal would be to someday get to see wrestling become a Rebels varsity sport."

People seeking to find out more about the Rebels Takedown Club may call Pete Thompson at (218) 380-0518 or Sarah Thompson at (218) 565-1880.


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