MINERAL WELLS -Mineral Wells Elementary appears to be the hotbed of youth wrestling in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
For the second time in three years, fourth-grader Braxton Amos returned from the Cliff Keen Reno Worlds with the Trinity Award in his possession.
Also bringing home the 40-pound trophy awarded to wrestlers who make a clean sweep of titles at the Kickoff Classic in Tulsa, Okla., along with the Tulsa Nationals and the Reno Worlds, was another student from Mineral Wells Elementary - 7-year-old Gage Wright.
Last Sunday as a member of the Mineral Wells Mustangs, Wright clinched his title in the 55-pound division by a 9-2 decision.
"Gage was super nervous before the match - that was about as nervous as I've ever seen him," his father, Matt Wright, said. "We needed the other coaches to calm him down."
For Amos, his road to the finals in the 10-under, 130-pound division ran like clockwork after recording two pins and winning by technical fall. In the championship match, he was paired up against a No.1 nationally ranked wrestler who bumped up a weight class.
- ?Youth wrestlers receive the Trinity Award for sweeping titles in their respective division during a series of three national tournaments.
1. Cliff Keen Kickoff Classic: Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa Okla. (Nov. 18-19, 2011)
2. Cliff Keen Tulsa Nationals: Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa, Okla. (Jan. 20-21, 2012)
3. Cliff Keen Reno Worlds: Reno, Nev. (April 13-15, 2012)
Amos, who was representing Team Miron out of the Columbus area, won 17-2 and became the first West Virginian to capture a second Trinity Award.
The event consisted of 2,800 entrants representing 40 states.
"Braxton did well - he works hard, plus he has good coaching and good practice partners," his father, Tim Amos, said. "The coaching staff (with the Junior Patriots) have worked with him basically as soon as he was out of diapers."
Amos also has taken advantage from practicing with the Parkersburg South High School team during the offseason. His laid-back demeanor away from the mat is completely opposite from the toughness he shows in competition.
"My son is wired a little differently than most of us," Tim Amos said. "Braxton has a tender heart and is a loving kid, but when he is on the mat he is fairly physical and violent."
That approach also pays off on the football field when Braxton is playing on the offensive and defensive line for the Mineral Wells youth team, which has lost just one game in the past four years.
"At noseguard, wrestling helps him a ton because he is used to feeling the pressure - he is used to moving people and being quick off the ball," his father said.
For Gage Wright, the trip to Reno was his first experience on an airplane. He slept on the way out, but on the return trip he was anxious to take his trophy out of the box once the airplane landed in Columbus.
"The night before the championship match, it was hard to sleep for the both of us," Matt Wright said. "In the back of my mind, I thought he could do it. I knew he was capable, but the hard thing is to actually do it.
"After the match, Gage was definitely excited."
Another student from Mineral Wells Elementary enjoying success in Reno was Cyrus Traugh, who captured a title in the 60-pound weight class for the 6-under division.
"They had a little carnival at our hotel, and because we had so much down time the kids played there for long time - that kind of helped take their minds off wrestling," Matt Wright said. "It was between that and them jumping on the beds at the hotel room."