Rezults Wrestling Academy has wrestling on the rise in West Texas
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The sport of wrestling is growing in popularity in West Texas, thanks to some local wrestling clubs in Lubbock.
Rezults Wrestling Academy welcomes kids from as young as four all the way through their high school years to join their club.
“You don’t have to be athletic to come here,” said Head Coach Sam Estrada. “We’re not asking for super athletic kids, just a kid that wants to be successful at anything. We’ll teach them the way, we’ll show them the way. We’ll give them a home. With wrestlers, it’s family. Like everybody that comes in here, they’re family.”
Estrada started the academy about five years ago, with just three kids, two of his own and one of their friends. The group has now grown to nearly one hundred children who call the gym their home.
14 year-old Texas USA Wrestling State Runner Up, Zoe Bennett said, “When you do club, it’s a family thing. You reach out to your friends and you want them to be part of that family. There’s other clubs in Lubbock, but they all just intertwine and work together. It really just helps grow wrestling as a sport.”
That same family helps 15-year-old Texas USA Wrestling State Runner Up June An stay motivated and improve his skills.
“Your family is your lifeline,” he said. “Without them you don’t have the support to have the encouragement to go to practices, go to all these places to just beat yourself up.”
A lot has changed in wrestling from the time Estrada started the academy, but he’s adjusted and evolved with the evolution of the sport.
Bennett said, “More girls are coming in. It’s been more accepting of girls wrestling, like they’re actually taking us more seriously now. They’ve started making shoes just for girls and singlets just for girls.”
Even some of the youngest girls in the group have the confidence to compete against the boys, under Estrada’s guidance.
“I’ve been wrestling boys and I beat them basically and then when I wrestle girls it’s like just easy,” said 12-year-old Texas USA Wrestling State Runner Up, Tessa Urias.
While the sport requires physical combat and often the more aggressive competitor wins the match, there’s more to the sport than what meets the eye. Estrada compares wrestling to a game of chess, with the more clever wrestlers always staying one move ahead.
“It’s like when he moves a pawn or when he moves a knight,” said 15-year-old four-time Texas USA Wrestling State Champion and Freshman UIL State Placer, Riley Marsh. “That can be like his leg moving in to a different area, his body switching, his stance switching. It’s just whatever he gives you, you’ve got to counter react and you got to attack.”
Unlike some of the more popular sports in the country, wrestling season doesn’t last as long during the school year. So Rezults gym is open year-round for their members to practice daily.
12 year-old Texas USA Wrestling Rookie State Champion, Jaxon Russell said, “I think it’s definitely great. ‘Cause our coach really tries. Like even if he’s sick he still comes to practice. I don’t think there’s one day that he would miss unless we’re going out to a tournament over the weekend.”
The lessons learned on the mats are not always geared towards wrestling. Like with other sports, Estrada says his teachings carry life lessons that the kids can apply to everyday life outside the gym.
“Our core values here are hard work, dedication and determination,” he said. “Those are the things I try to instill in the kids at a young age.”
Estrada requires each member to bring a journal and a pen to every practice. In the journals he has the children write down some goals that they want to accomplish, analysis on new moves that they are working on, and principles that they can apply inside of the academy and outside in school and in life.
He said at the end of the day his ultimate goal is to help prepare the kids to be successful in whatever they decide to do in life. And the only way he could think of doing that, was through the sport of wrestling.
“Since I started this, I haven’t been working at all. This is my love, this is my passion. And not a day of my life since I’ve been doing this, I feel like I come to work,” he said.
“So I come here and I work with kids. I mold them, I teach them, I give them everything that they need to be successful is my hope. To see them win out there, to see that look on their face, to see that excitement when they win a tough match or those tears of joy...those kinds of things. That’s what I’m paid in and that makes me happier than anything else.”
Rezults Wrestling Academy is now working with another local club to bring an end of summer tournament to Lubbock.
Learn more on their Facebook page here.
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