Sumo wrestler reaches title level

RIGBY, Idaho — With his career as a collegiate wrestler finished at Ricks College, bachelor's and master's degrees in geography from the University of Idaho, and a career as an analyst in economics and geography, Kelly Gneiting took the next step.

He became an amateur sumo wrestler.

The sport is much better known and more popular in Japan, but Brother Gneiting of the Rigby 4th Ward, Rigby Idaho Stake, has become accomplished in the U.S. He is a four-time international and six-time national medalist and has reached the rank of Shodan, the equivalent of black belt in karate.

By reaching the title match in the heavyweight division of the U.S. National Sumo Championship, even though he lost that match, Brother Gneiting, who is also a truck driver, qualified as the alternate to represent the U.S. in the World Games in July 2005.

A 34-year-old father of three, Brother Gneiting began sumo wrestling six years ago. His interest arose from his two years of wrestling at Ricks, a year before and a year after his service in the California Santa Rosa Mission.