People may think that wrestling is a sport reserved for men with big muscles and buffed bodies and for most of the time they are right. After all, those are needed to take down your opponent in the mat and be considered one of the greatest there is.
But 16-year old Brent Threlkeld is not your average wrestler. This ninth-grade student from Kearney High School in Missouri is the latest addition to the school’s wrestling team, which is known for bringing home the gold in the last three Class 3 championships held in the state.
He has won the team another medal and while the win played a significant part in the school’s team record, it meant more than that.
Brent has Down Syndrome and he has not let his condition hold him back.
During the tournament, Brent went against another special needs wrestler from Savannah High School, Charlie Phillips. He beat Charlie in a move that was called, “two-and-one.”
While Brent gushed about his win, his team and coaches knew it meant more than a victory on the mat.
His special education teacher Heather Guilkey was proud of what her student has achieved.
Meanwhile, Chad Hopkins, Brent’s wresting coach also acknowledged Brent’s success. He said, “We’re not asking for anyone to lay down and let him win.” He added, “We just want someone who’s going to be able to compete with him and let him have a feel of what it’s like to compete for real on a mat in a singlet.”
Hopkins knew the win would have a positive impact and meaning most especially to those with special needs. “What I watched Saturday, it did a lot of people really good. It did the program good. It did our coaches good to see this is what life’s really about,” he noted.