GRAND RAPIDS -- Kobe Weller, a New York Mills sixth-grader was not expecting a top finish at a recent NYWA wrestling tournament in Grand Rapids. He returned with a runner-up finish.
"I was expecting to just have fun down there," Weller said. "It was hard but I still had fun."
Weller won three of four matches to bring home runner-up accolades at the tournament.
Wrestling is not something Weller takes lightly, especially, for a sixth grader. His secret early in his career is fitness.
"I run three miles and I don't get too tired because I run that much," he said. "All the other kids get exhausted before I do."
Weller also participates in football, baseball and track, but wrestling is his favorite sport because of the individual nature of the sport.
"It's just you," said Weller.
Weller credits his favorite coach Mike Weller for his recent success.
"When Mike coaches me I do really good. It's because, to me, he's a good wrestler."
Kobe is the son of Amanda Weller and stepfather Chad Weller, both possessing a last name synonymous with New York Mills wrestling history and the present.
"She's (Amanda) at matches, except when she hass to work. She likes to see me (win)."
Weller competed in front of the largest crowd in his early career at Grand Rapids, continuing what has been an impressive year for the sixth-grader.
He has compiled a record of 34-7, 24 wins by way of pin. Of his seven defeats, he avoided giving up his back in each match.
While Weller is on the early path to the junior varsity at New York Mills, wrestling is not just an extra-curricular activity.
He has his brother Zander, a second-grader, to show the ropes.
"He doesn't want to wrestle me," Kobe said. "He really looks up to me."
That is the job of a big brother.
Kobe is continuing what is a wrestling tradition in New York Mills. It is in the family.