Springfield—Sunday, January 20, 2013 marked one of the largest yearly wrestling events in Illinois: the 29th Jon Davis IKWF Kids Open. This tournament featured over 1,000 wrestlers in 244 brackets including—for the first time—a thirteen bracket girls division.
The trip to Springfield for the Jon Davis tournament isn’t one that the A-J Junior Wildcats take their entire roster to attend. With on-site weigh-ins on Saturday and the tournament on Sunday, it makes for a very long weekend that attracts only the most dedicated wrestlers and families from the southern part of the state.
A-J had five wrestlers make the long trip to the Jon Davis. All five placed in first or second. Six-year-old Drew Sadler and eight-year-old Blake Mays both finished first in their brackets. Six-year-old Zoee Sadler, seven-year-old Caleb Mays and twelve-year-old Catie Mays all finished second.
“It’s really a testament to the time these kids put into the sport,” commented club president Rollie Hawk. “All five of these kids are basically year-round wrestlers and it shows.”
“And that’s while playing other sports, too,” Hawk was quick to add. “You get these little skirmishes from time to time where a coach in one sport doesn’t want his or her players getting too involved in other sports. But that’s not the case with our wrestling coaches.
“Whether it’s at the junior club or high school levels, we encourage our wrestlers to get involved in all sports. We believe strongly in the virtues of being an athlete in any sport and that all of those virtues carry over to every other sport as well as every aspect of life. We don’t just see our kids as future high school and college athletes; we see future community leaders, church elders, business owners, school board members and people that are going to make an impact in our community throughout their lives.”
The Junior Wildcats also had three grapplers compete in the Mount Carmel Aces Wild Rumble. Seven-year-olds Kaden Lincoln and Brett Smith both won second place in their brackets. Ten-year-old Dylan Smith placed third in his bracket.
The A-J Junior Wildcats compete again as a team January 27 in Mt. Vernon Lions Club Open.