By: Troy Jewell
It was a great trip to Wildwood for our Texas wrestlers!!
We took the two middle school teams and one elementary team, basically two developmental teams and one middle school team that was geared to compete towards the front. We did our best to place the kids on the proper teams between the MS Blue and Red. Some of the kids have wrestled each other throughout the season and the decision was somewhat made, but there were a few that had not and in that case we just used our best judgment. I think after the final results of the teams everyone was very pleased with where the kids were placed. Most of the kids on the middle school red team were about in that 500 range as far as win /loss, which was exactly what we were hoping for from that group. They were all pushed to wrestle at a higher level, and their wins were very hard earned!
The Blue team consisted of more experienced wrestlers who had competed at this level before. It was not all of our best wrestlers in the state, but if they consist of many of them . The group had one very close loss to GA Minion black in their first pool, lacking our HWT definitely hurt us in that one. However, the team managed to fall into the very tough silver bracket and it definitely got tougher. They lost close duals to a Buxton team, Seagulls of NJ, and by a few points to Wisconsin. These were all very close duals that were a lot of fun for all of us. The team had reached their goal of getting in an extremely competitive bracket, one that challenged every wrestler. These other states had big football players filling their upper weights ,but we had the toughest, bravest 167 pounder in the tournament. Wrestling up at 175 and at times even HWT for us! Diego Falcon of Dumas has the biggest heart of any kid I have ever been around, PERIOD! You can ask his Texas Blue teammates and they will tell you the exact same thing. He definitely earned the respect of every one of them and set an example for all. There were many times he went up against some straight up linebackers right off the football field, guys that had a hell of a lot more horsepower than he did. He knew he was outgunned, but his exact words were “just put me wherever I can help the team.” Not only did he manage to go almost .500 out there, when he was told to not get pinned or give up a major, he tried with everything he had to follow through. He fought more than most giving up that much weight and strength, and he managed to pull that off a few times for us. One time he could not against a beast from WI you would not have known it ! His teammates were clapping and celebrating as if he won the match and we won the dual ! Everyone was blown away by this kids effort , nothing but heart . To top it off, in our last match against Colorado we needed Diego to pin to win. After being thrown to his back twice and fighting like hell to get off of it, he managed to put his opponent right to his back and pin him!! Texas Blue wins that one with big help from the heart and fight of Diego Falcon. The Dumas wrestler is our OW for Texas Blue this year at Wildwood, no question!
Other wrestlers who performed outstanding on the team were undefeated Braxton Brown , Mario Danzi of Best Trained and Branson Britten of Randall. These guys managed to win every single match but they definitely had some tough battles to get it done. Their all-tournament status and gold medals were hard earned to say the least. This was Branson’s first trip to something like this at this level. I noticed him really show what he was made of at USJOC this year when he placed third only losing to a sophomore in the 15 and under. He put a big explanation point behind that performance by going undefeated at Wildwood. Mario stepped his game up even higher and wrestled a flawless tournament. He hammered about every big horse they threw at him other than a tight match with a good CO kid in the last dual. Mario pinned kids that had beat him the year before and definitely made a big statement with his dominating performance.
It was Angelo and Anthony Ferrari wrestling up in weight this year against some much stronger, bigger opponents. Really liked the idea behind the decision. There’s no question that the two boys dominate at their regular weights and age divisions. Moving them up in weight class was a decision that was going to definitely challenge them, making the wins much tougher to come by. I think the boys definitely felt the difference on the first day of competition , but on the second day we saw two different kids out there. These guys dug in and battled even harder to win every position out there. As the tournament progressed they figured out technically how to deal with the extra strength and weight. Did they lose a few matches throughout the tournament, sure they did, but that was to be expected. Who cares , they got better! Their dad’s decision backed up the principle of exactly what our teams were developed for, to give kids opportunity to make them better FIRST! Hopefully that’s a good example to all the dads out there that are sitting at home polishing their kids track wrestling profiles every week. They won’t do much good at the next level anyway. Let the kids wrestle to get better, not to standout.
For the Red team, there were couple of guys that had very strong performances, one being Jonathan Wertz. He went 8-2 in the tournament earning all-tournament honors and a bronze medal at 145. I got to watch Jonathan wrestle quite a bit this season and was first blown away by his consistent try and effort at Dixie Nationals , where I believe he went undefeated. This is a kid that still has a lot of developing to do physically but you would not know it when you watch him wrestle. I don’t know that we had too many kids with any more fight than this kid packs! Next is the young Corey Camden at 112 pounds and only 12 years of age. After going undefeated at Dixie nationals earlier this season ,Corey went 7-3 in his first trip to Wildwood. In his last match he had a few very questionable missed calls that cost him about four points. If he gets one of those in his favor, he wins that match and earns all tournament status as a 12-year-old 7th grader. Hank Myer had the kind of tournament I honestly expected him to have. I have watched him wrestle quite a bit this season in the Iron Man series. It was clear he had the power and physicality to do some damage at this one. He did, going 7-4 doing his part for the team for sure. Carson Lowery another one who went 7-4 and was solid for the Red team . I had more than one conversation with his coach about having him wrestle down at 85 because I know this kid walks around far below 90. He would have been on our Blue team at 85 no question, but the decision was firm at 90 pounds. Proud of him for battling hard there, but hoping it was a bit of an eye-opener as well.
The OW for the Texas Red team was Johnathan Wertz. Another dominating performance by the Boneyard Wrestler at another big tournament! Not far behind him was his teammate Corey Camden who will have another crack at it, and I am sure on the blue team next year!
As expected many of our eighth graders wrestled on the blue team and many seventh graders that will be returning were on the red. As I said before the trip, a lot of our focus was on that red team and developing them for next year’s series of dual tournaments. I think Coach Camden and Coach Martinez were very successful in doing just that.
Elementary blue was full of young inexperienced wrestlers comparatively speaking. However, they battled and stepped up their game as the tournament progressed. The first day they probably all thought they got hit in the jaw as they went up against some very tough physical teams. First dual out they lost the 95 pounder, Nicholas Dudzikowski. Nicholas posted his arm to prevent going to his back and popped an elbow out. That first day was tough on the young team , but they managed to weather the storm and showed up for the second! Wrestlers like Nico Roxas, Kaleb Smith, and Cole Myer all took a bit of a beating the first day but all had a huge second day gathering mostly wins. Some great overtime victories by Kaleb for sure. Nico smashed the competition the second day going undefeated at 50 pounds after getting it handed to him the first day. Young Cole Myer, only a third grader I believe at 105 pounds, just plain got better at this tournament. By the end he was sticking kids with double chicken wings. It was sixth grader Landon Marsh at 115 pounds dominating the tournament. Landon went 8-2 and earned all tournament honors and a bronze medal. This is Landon’s second trip to Wildwood as he went last year and maybe won three matches at best. Landon’s results this year are exactly what we are hoping for with all of our kids that made their first trip to Wildwood . Plain and simple, he knew what to expect this year and he stepped out there ready to fight to be better than he was the year before. NB Elites Landon Marsh is hands down our OW for the Elementary team!
We could not be prouder of all of these kids and I think everyone who was involved would say the same. Our first dual tournament experience as a team was a complete success for everyone. I have not heard a complaint from a single kid or parent that went . Quite the opposite actually, all I have heard is, “count us in for next year; we definitely want our kids to be a part of this!”
It does not take a brain surgeon to see that these kids improve during the entire tournament . No matter how experienced or inexperienced they were, everyone did.
Something else the kids can be proud of , is that all three teams consisted of majority Texas Wresters! Our goal was to fill the teams with nothing but Texas kids and we did everything we could to achieve this. However there were a few spots that Texas just could not fill , but it was no more than two kids on one team and one on the other two . Our goal moving forward will remain the same to get the teams full of our own first if possible. Big thanks to our out of state guys, Kolby, Jager, Kenndyle, and Duke. These guys had an outstanding tournament and were a big help in filling holes that we could not. Thank you all!
Also, big thanks to all of the parents who helped out and did everything you could to get your kids to this tournament! To our coaches, Doug Sims, Eric Martinez, Brett Camden, Daniel Meyer, and Will McKinney, thank you all for helping out with this one. Robert Danzi for helping with a lot of the foot work that needed to be done .
Also thanks to the clubs who sent kids or wanted to .Takedown Elite who sent a large young group of very talented wrestlers. Boneyard had a big group as well. Best Trained , 3F , NB Elite ,LCP , Ohana , Dumas , Randle , Corespeed , Wesley , and a few others i’m sure I’m missing , Thanks ! We Look forward to continuing the effort with everyone in the future and making Texas wrestling better.
Great job by all!
For some, we will see you in Tulsa this weekend. We have even more kids involved in this Dual and look forward to seeing the group out of Wesley who are participating this weekend.
> We will put together a list of duals we will be attending in the future and a number of them for next year. The gear package will be put together early for kids to use for dual trips the entire season. The teams have already been excepted to many of the major tournaments in the country and are being invited to more. Hopefully we will continue to get more interest from other clubs within the state and be able to send more teams in the future.
> The goal ;
> Texas Blue , Red, and white👍🏼