The Delta Wrestling Club's David Klingsheim, who recently captured a CIF State Wrestling Championship as a junior at Liberty High School, is no stranger to the headlines. But it was his younger teammates who garnered all the accolades at the Kids Freestyle State Championships the first weekend in June.
Brothers Jaron and Jon-Jay Chavez pulled off a spectacular and improbable feat, as each won his respective weight class to become a triple-crown winner.
Jaron is a 70-pound Midget Division monster, while Jon-Jay dominated the Novice Division at 90 pounds. The brothers both took first place at the Kids State Folkstyle Championships in March as well as at the Kids State Greco Championships in April, making it a clean sweep on the year.
I think a lot of it is just their work ethic and their attitude, said coach Greg Chappel. The thing I like about Jaron is that he always shows up to practice with a big smile on his face he really loves wrestling. They were actually coming in during the high school season and working out with us. They're itty-bitty guys but they came in and got themselves a corner and were doing everything that we were doing. They just have an incredible love for the sport.
First-year grappler Daniel Roanhorse also opened eyes at the State Championships, riding heart, determination and his considerable natural talent to a sixth-place finish. Chappel was impressed to see such an inexperienced wrestler perform so well, even in the 8U Bantam Division, and he sees a long and successful wrestling career in Roanhorse's future.
He'd never wrestled before and so we were really excited to see him do that it was all natural ability, Chappel said of the 60-pounder. He's the kind of wrestler where I ask myself if I'm going to be around as long as he is, because he's really special and he has a very bright future ahead of him. Wow.
David Rios claimed first place in the Junior Fila Division at 160 pounds, building on a season in which he has already earned a state title in Greco competition. And Ryan Smith, a 135-pounder, took fourth at the freestyle tournament in San Jose after a second-place finish at the Greco tournament in April.
Other top finishers included Devin Lyle, who placed fifth in the Novice Division at 70 pounds; Tanner Blank, who finished sixth in the School Boy Division at 128 pounds; and Jesse Baldazo and Tyler Blank, who each finished eighth in the Cadet Division, Baldazo at 140 pounds and Blank at 285.
Klingsheim, who suffered a fractured hip in April, did not compete at San Jose, but was cleared by doctors to resume workouts last week and will be one of five Delta Wrestling Club representatives at the Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D. July 19 to 26.
Chappel feels that the injury might have been a blessing in disguise for Klingsheim, who is regarded by everybody who knows him as a tremendously dedicated athlete who never willingly takes time away from the mats.
We were bummed that he'd gotten hurt, but he'd never really taken any time off and this forced him to take some time away from wrestling in a way that wasn't really going to hurt his development, said Chappel. I think that being forced to take time off is going to end up being a good thing for him.
Klingsheim will be joined by Rios, Smith, Nico Serrano and Brittany David in Fargo, where the group will test its mettle against the very best competition in the country. It will cost approximately $1,300 per wrestler to send the group to Fargo, and the fundraising effort is still in high gear. If you would like to make a donation to help this hardworking group of local athletes compete at nationals, call Chappel at 925-634-5659.