Friday, March 19, 2010
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illini to Stony Brook, NY

Young grappler to vie for state championship

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[March 19, 2010]  Last year Lincoln youth wrestler Max Koning was headed to the state tournament and had his friend Jarrett Poole work with him to sharpen his skills. The two are still wrestling each other. But this time it is Poole who is headed to Danville this weekend for the Midget State Tournament. In all, 800 wrestlers from all across Illinois will be in the competition for 8-, 9- and 10- year-old wrestlers.

Poole, only a fifth-grade 10-year-old, is in the 122-pound weight class. Although Koning is at 85 pounds, the two seemed evenly matched as they worked out.

Poole has the bulk, Koning has the experience and they wrestled hard in Poole's last practice Thursday night as coach Walt Landers watched and relayed advice.

Although the youngsters are in a sport that is one-on-one, they always remain friends and never forget that friendship as they grapple on the mats. Both said they never get mad at each other in the heat of battle.


When asked, Poole quickly says Koning is the better wrestler, and he knows that wrestling a more seasoned wrestler will only make him better. Coach Landers says all the practice and effort is paying off for Poole: "In the last few months his technique has come a long way."

Jarrett, like most young boys, loves sports, but he says immediately his favorite is wrestling.

His dad, Troy, said that a while back his son told him he wanted to do summer wrestling rather than play baseball this year, and his dad said that was up to his son.

"I just want him to be active," Troy said. "I don't want him to just sit at home and stare at a computer screen all day. He loves wrestling, so that's fine with me."

Jarrett will continue to play youth football in the fall and loves that sport as well, but not as much as wrestling.

Landers said that Jarrett has come a long way in the four years he has been with the Lincoln Youth Wrestling program.

"Jarrett has never missed a practice and he has attended every tournament," the coach said.

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Landers says Jarrett probably has the best record of any kid who has been in the program. This season alone Poole will have competed in 40 matches.

His dad says Jarrett deserves recognition for never giving up, especially after the way his wrestling career started.

"In Jarrett's first seven tournaments he didn't win a match," Troy said. "I think he was 0-21."

Then his mom, who had recently had a baby, Zack, was able to come, and Jarrett won his first match.

Now the Poole family makes the weekend treks to watch Jarrett compete and offer him support.

Troy and Jennifer, along with sister Ashley and brother Zack, will be heading to Danville tomorrow to cheer Jarrett on.

Although Jarrett has forsaken playing baseball, both he and dad quickly say that doesn't mean they are any less St. Louis Cardinal fans than before.

But right now Jarrett has his sights set on the future, and it doesn't include baseball, or being a scientist or lawyer for that matter.

Troy said, "If you ask Jarrett what he wants to be, he will tell you he wants to be a Railer. Not a junior Railer. A real Railer."

If the youngster keeps growing, and maintaining his dedication to being as good as he can be, both the Railer wrestling and football teams will have a great new addition in a few years.


Related article from March 2009

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