The Hillsboro High School gymnasium was filled Saturday with hundreds of young wrestlers and their families for the Hillsboro Takedown Tournament.
Aside from the action on the mats, many grapplers practiced with parents. One such parent-child sparring session was between 7-year-old Chaz Smith of Cottonwood Falls and his father, Kyle Smith. During a break between matches, Chaz tried to grab and control Kyle’s leg, which was nearly as big as Chaz.
Tournament organizer and Hillsboro Kids Club Wrestling coach Scott O’Hare said that isn’t surprising.
“Parental involvement is commonplace in youth wrestling,” he said. “Most of the coaches are parents of kids in the program. Many of our parents attend practices and help out where they can.
“Some of the fathers in our club are former wrestlers, and others have never been around wrestling,” he added. “They all watch and learn what we are teaching, so they can help their own child in match preparation.”
O’Hare said the focus of youth wrestling programs varies from club to club.
“Certainly, some clubs focus on the results alone,” he said. “The philosophy I try to instill in our program is more centered around attitude and effort, learning the basics of the sport from a technique standpoint, and having fun.”
O’Hare said he wants it to be both competitive and fun. He also tries to give the wrestlers the skills to be successful from a results standpoint as they go along in the program and into school-sponsored wrestling.
“I believe that wrestling, more than any other sport, teaches kids many of the most important life skills — discipline, sacrifice, attitude, sportsmanship, hard work,” he said.
O’Hare said wrestling has taught him more about those traits than other influences in his life, and he wants kids to have that opportunity.
The tournament had about 280 kids entered this year, up from the usual 230 to 250. O’Hare said it ran very smoothly, and parents who helped did a fine job.
6 and younger
Dakoda Ogle, 1-2; Hitch Soyez, 2-1; Amberley Ogle, 2-1; Kyson Gawith, 1-2; Wyatt Soyez, 1-2; Owen Dalke, 2-1; Cooper Hefley, 2-1; Evan Jones, 0-3; Colby Suderman, 1-2; Preston D’Albini, 1-2; Sutton Redger, 2-1; Scout Redger, 1-2.
8 and younger
Anthony Fickes, 2-1; Layne Clark, 0-3; Karsen Kroupa, 1-2; Jayden Overlin, 0-3; Carter Hamm, 0-3; Lane Mayfield, 2-1; Keygan Pierce, 1-2; Camden Padgett, 3-0; Lane Rogers, 0-2; Connor Padgett, 2-0.
10 and younger
Garrett Helmer, 1-2; Tristan Rathbone, 1-2.
12 and younger
Jordan Bachman, 2-0; Raymond Johnston, 0-2; Jasper Lackey, 1-2; Trevor Jasper, 0-3.