Little Guy Wrestling 2012 State Tournament

Both boys did really well at the state tournament this year.

The beginners had their tournament Friday night.

Zoran was pretty excited. 

Warming up. . . Zoran pays such attention to things for such a small person. I overhead him going over legal/ illegal grips with the other boys before they started the tournament. He lost a match the previous week because he did one of these illegally giving the kid he was wrestling a point and sending the match into overtime. Then he did it one more time in the overtime match right when he nearly had the other kid pinned, which gave the other kid yet another point. (And the match since it's first point wins in overtime.) He was so upset. And I felt awful because he had actually asked me the right way to do it before he wrestled and I didn't know. I guess I should have sent him to ask someone, but I didn't think it would be a big deal.

I heard him asking different coaches multiple times over the next couple days. Zoran is definitely just learning and he makes mistakes, but he doesn't make very many of the same ones twice.

Daisy was his coach for the tournament. It looks like he's demonstrating something for her.

Zoran started off really well, a quick first round pin.

Then, the bracket was set up so he had to wrestle this little Troy kid that won both the previous level qualifying tournaments. Zoran did really, really well.

This kid beat him pretty easy earlier in the year. Eldon worked on sprawling with him the week before and the difference was pretty amazing. The kid wasn't able to get his legs or really ever totally get control.

It went all three rounds and Zoran ended up losing 8-9. This kid ended up winning the entire tournament and Zoran was the only one he didn't pin on his way to first place.

Zoran was really upset (because he knew it sent him to the losers bracket) but he continued to wrestle really well.

He got a couple more pins.

He lost one match by points to another really good little Kalispell wrestler and then got one last pin for 5th place.

Pretty good for his first year at the tournament! There are so many hundreds of wrestlers in those early grades it's pretty impressive just to qualify to wrestle in that A bracket at state. They let any of the little beginners who want to come wrestle at the tournament, but you have to place at the tournament for your unit and then again at the next level for your half of the state to wrestle in the competitive bracket. I was trying to explain this to both Zoran and Bryce because they were in the same boat and both a little discouraged. It was a little confusing to see all the boys they'd beat all year placing because they were wresting in the B, C, or D brackets that were open to anyone who wanted to show up. It was good for them to see so many good wrestlers though. I was kind of amazed at how much technical skill some of these little tiny kids had. A few of them were pretty amazing.

All the older kids had their tournament the next day.

Sort of a big jump to go from watching Zoran & Bryce's 45-55 pound matches to watching some of Israel's buddies in their 200 pound+ weight classes.

Israel had an excellent tournament.

For once he got a bracket that worked in his favor and it was pretty nice that it happened to be this one.  Of course that's the whole point of seeding, but it's so much nicer when you have the toughest match at the end of the tournament. (Rather than facing the eventual champ and wrestling a tough match that you lose by a point or two in your first match of the tournament– this happened to Israel twice this year!)

Lex was pretty tired of wrestling by the end of day two.

Israel's first break was a bye, his second that a kid who probably wouldn't have won his first round match advanced to the second with a bye because he's opponent couldn't wrestle. That gave Israel a pretty easy match. Then, he just wrestled a couple more really great matches and was in the championship.

And he won that match, just like all the others, with a first-round pin:

It's so much quicker (and more fun!) to move through a tournament if you can stay on that winner's side of the bracket.

I think Israel ended up 14th overall in the entire tournament for pins.

And, he got himself a 125 pound championship.

And this may possibly be the quickest way to his little brother's heart. Nothing Zoran loves more than a champion. Especially one that's his very own big brother. He couldn't wait to get his hands on the bracket they gave Israel on the podium. (He realized the previous week at the tournament that they gave them to the winners and really wanted one of his own.) 

Israel was pretty excited to be at the top of the podium. (Not sure what happened to their fourth place person?)
Their whole junior team did a really amazing job, second overall which is incredible for such a small team. They came home with a ton of medals.

It made for a really hectic month or so, but I really enjoyed watching wrestling this year. Next year shouldn't be nearly as hectic since we'll just have to worry about Zoran's schedule and not see the very beginning of every tournament and the very end. Having boys on both ends of the spectrum made for really, really long days.

Although ending like this may have persuaded Israel to stick with wrestling instead of basketball for high school next year.
We will see.

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