Eight local grapplers will be competing in the annual “Border Battle” wrestling meet, featuring wrestlers from Iowa against athletes from Wisconsin. 
The top seniors will compete in the 13th annual event, held Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at Crestwood High School.
“Things are still up in the air as far as who will be wrestling for Minnesota,” stated Dennis Meirick, president of the hosting Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Minnesota just finished their state tournament this weekend and will be putting their team together in the next few days.”
Meirick noted wrestlers from Decorah, Turkey Valley, Osage, South Winneshiek, MFL and Crestwood have committed for the Iowa squad. The Border Battle dual meet record is 6-6 after the Minnesota squad picked up a win last year.
Tickets for the event are $6 for adults and $5 for students and will be sold at the door at Crestwood.   

Meet the teams
The Minnesota team will consist of senior wrestlers from school districts located in Mower, Fillmore and Houston counties. The Iowa team will consist of seniors from school districts drawing students in from Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek and Allamakee counties. As in the past, both teams could draw a few wrestlers from outside the boundaries.
Two members of the Decorah squad will be competing Friday. Austin Ashbacher will compete at the 285 pounds. Ashbacher placed sixth a year ago and is a three-time state qualifiers. Joining him is senior Cody Ritner. At 152 pounds, Ritner went 27-15 this season, placing third at districts.
Chris Brincks will represent South Winn at the meet. At 195 pounds, Brincks placed second this season, going 48-4, and was fifth in 2013.
Five Trojans will be competing at the Border Battle. At 285 pounds, Luke Kuennen went 4-2 at the state meet to earn fifth place. For the season, he went 39-3 overall. Eric Buckendahl (145 pounds) finished his season at the state meet with an 18-8 record. Also competing are Riley Meirick (152 pounds, 31-10), Charles Hadacek (160 pounds, 28-16) and Kyle Reicks (220 pounds, 27-6).
Other committed members of team Iowa are: 132-pound Hunter Slifka, who placed third for Crestwood this year and is a three-time state qualifier; 132-pound Chris Hanke, Osage, who placed 7th in 2013; 138-pound Christian Fox of Osage, who placed third this year and is a two-time state qualifier; 152-pound Douglas Perrin of Osage, who is a two-time state place finisher; 182-pound Nathan Howe of MFL, who placed sixth at state this year; 152-pound Isaac Hover of Crestwood; 160-pound Tyler Randall of Osage; 170-pound Dillon Johnson of Osage; 170-pound Levi Henry of Crestwood; and 195-pound Brandon Slifka of Crestwood.
“We have to thank the coaches from both Iowa and Minnesota who make this happen every year,” Meirick said. “We really have to scramble to make this happen but it’s always worth it because we do this to honor our seniors who have given so much to our sport. It’s always exciting.”
Border Battle organizers hope to feature about 15 to 20 matches again this year.