Tecumseh Wrestling Club picks up pair of state titles
By MICKEY ALVARADO
The Tecumseh Wrestling Club participated in the Michigan Youth Wrestling Association (MYWA) State Championships the weekend of March 29-30 in East Lansing at the Michigan State University's Jenison Field House and had two young wrestlers earn state titles.
Six-year-old Kellen Patton weighs in at only 43-pounds but don't let his small size fool you. He's placed in the top three at state since beginning his career at the tender age of four. His most recent appearance had him placed on the top of the podium after grappling his way to a title in the 7-8-age division. At the state meet last year he placed third and the year before he finished second.
“He started wrestling when he was just four-years-old,” said his father and coach, Larry Patton. “He's always participated in MY WA. His first year he was only four but he wrestled in the 5-6 year-old division and did quite well. He was runner-up that year.”
Patton recorded two pins and two decisions before picking up the state title. The young Tecumseh wrestler doesn't lose too often. He finished 28-2 this year and has lost only eight matches since beginning the sport. Patton improved his career record to 92-8 with the title victory.
Tecumseh wrestler Kody McCrate also earned a state title in the heavyweight division. The returning state qualifier placed first in the 11-12-age division. He pinned three opponents on his way to the championship. McCrate went 13-4 this season.
Dakota Dotson placed fifth for the Tecumseh Club at 142-pounds in the 15-16 age division while Joey Rebottaro placed eighth as a heavyweight in the 13-14 age division. Also wrestling for the club but not placing was Drew Martin, Haven Vaughn, Jeremy Hatfield, and Tyler Long.
The Tecumseh Wrestling Club, coached by Larry Patton and Todd Amstutz and assistant coaches Greg Martin and Pat Pelham, was formed five years ago to help Tecumseh's overall wrestling program grow stronger while instilling good sportsmanship and competitive abilities into its aspiring youth. The club has been affiliated with MY WA since forming and travels to competitions throughout its season. This year the club had more participants than ever before with 57 registered wrestlers.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger,” said coach Patton. “Primarily, the purpose of this club is just to start an early foundation. Obviously, that begins with our youth learning the fundamentals of wrestling. Our objective is to teach every wrestler the basics of the sport while having fun at the same time.”
The Tecumseh Wrestling Club will begin its 2008-09 season in December and ends around April after the state meet. MY WA has six regions in Michigan and Tecumseh actively competes in the eastern division. Many of the meets are on the road with drives limited to about an hour. Tecumseh High School allows the club to practice two times a week in the varsity wrestlers workout room. Drills are performed as well as live head to head wrestling.
“We teach proper technique and give a general understanding of the sport of wrestling and it's in an atmosphere that is positive, constructive and we're getting these kids ready for the junior high and high school programs.”
Approximately half of the club's wrestlers are eight years old or younger so it will be a few more years before a good crop of them hits the varsity program. However, once there they are expected to give the coaches some committed and talented youth to work with. They are just starting to trickle into the JV and varsity programs.
Youths from the ages of five to 15 are invited to check out the sport at one of the club’s practices or competitions. For more information contact Larry Patton at 605.6966.