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Mikey Longo, an eighth grader at Middlebrook School, is one of 22 youngsters who have been selected to participate with the Ohio All-Star Wrestling Team. The team will embark this summer on a 50-day cultural exchange tour of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Longo is only the second Connecticut wrestler to be chosen for the team.

Now in its 36th year, the Ohio All-Stars are one of the most respected youth wrestling teams in the country. This year’s team consists of 22 of the top wrestlers in sixth to 10th grade from Ohio and the eastern United States.

“I feel this trip and the learning experience will not only help in my future wrestling career but also in my daily life,” said Longo, who recently won his fourth straight New England title. “I am excited to represent my state and community.”

In order to make the trip a reality, however, he must raise $5,600 by May 1. This is to cover training, travel, lodging, meals, and competition expenses as well as excursions. He is working on fund-raising projects and asking local business for their help in sponsoring him on the prestigious tour.

Checks may be made payable to Ohio All-Star Wrestling Team and mailed to Ohio All-Star Wrestling Team, 8138 Kingfisher Lane, Pickerington OH 43147. Include his name, Mikey Longo, on the check.

Longo also has set up a GoFundMe page. Anyone who would like to help with a donation can do so here.

Longo has been wrestling since he was 7 years old. Last weekend, he won his fourth New England title at 88 pounds and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in the Middle School division. He also became a Connecticut state champion for the fourth time.

His older brother Travis, a junior at Wilton High, recently won Wilton’s first State Open title in 25 years, in addition to winning FCIAC and Class L championships.

Longo trains at Beast Training Wrestling Academy in Danbury. He participates in national wrestling tournaments year-round, with his club as well as other elite wrestling clubs. At the end of March, he will be wrestling in the War at the Shore National Tournament in Wildwood, N.J.

“Mikey has wrestled with me at Beast Training Wrestling Academy since third grade and is the most accomplished wrestler I’ve ever had,” said coach Fred Mills. “The opportunity to wrestle with the Ohio All-Stars and travel all around the country is unbelievable and will only make him a better wrestler and help him mature.”

This year, the tour will begin with a weeklong training camp, where top clinicians will work with the team to get them ready for their trip. After camp, the team will head west on June 16 to compete in dual meets against teams from New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California, returning to Ohio on Aug. 8.

The trip provides the wrestlers a good opportunity to further their wrestling skills, especially in Olympic, or freestyle, wrestling. It also serves as a cultural learning experience, as wrestlers have the opportunity to visit many sites in the country they may never have the chance to view again.

James Longo, Mikey’s father, is excited and proud of Mikey’s accomplishments and believes this summer’s experience will result in improvements in both his son’s wrestling skills and his ability to face top-notch competition in pressure situations. He also feels the experience will help mold Mikey into a more mature and confident individual.

“It will be hard to have him away for seven weeks, but this is such an amazing opportunity for him to develop important life skills that can ultimately impact his future success,” James Longo said.