A tall, shiny trophy sits in an office at Martin Luther King Recreational Sports Center in Harvey.
It’s the Novice Division state championship trophy of the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) Championship that took place in Rockford March 11.
It’s one of many trophies the park district’s youth wrestling team, called The Twisters have won over the past 50 years.
Damari Reed, 12, was one of three top winners in the division, which is for wrestlers between 10 and 12 years old. The three individual wins helped secure the championship.
“It was a good win,” said Twister Head Coach Kuintroy Harrell. “We were back by 20 points. The three boys wrestled back to back and all three scored pins. After we got that lead we never looked back.”
Damari Reed’s father, Roderick, who is an assistant coach, was proud of his son’s success.
“He did really well,” he said. “He was really hungry and he put in a lot of hard work.”
Winning the championship wasn’t easy with the Twisters being one of 166 teams competing in various divisions during the competition. The work ethic can be seen at the Twister practices where dozens of youth from age 4 to 17 work out on the mats, while coaches watch and bark out orders to the youth.
Harrell said along with the many championships the Twisters have won over the years something else more important is going on.
“The kids need it (wrestling),” he said. “It teaches them (boys) self-discipline and self control. It teaches you when to be humble and when to be aggressive.”
That philosophy seems to work on the mat as well with having the most wins in the IKWF. He said their name may be a bit unusual to some, but it is respected among the competition.
“We wear the name really well,” Harrell said.
— Twisters bring home Novice Division wrestling title trophy —