Two Big Bend wrestlers earn bid to Adidas Wrestling Nationals

Posted at 7:07 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-04 19:07:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) — The Big Bend is no stranger to having local wrestlers compete on big stages and this week the Grappling House Wrestling Club will send two of their rising stars off to the Midwest.

"Both of these kids came to Grappling House on their first day ever, they didn't know how to get in a wrestling stance," said Grappling House program director Jason Weslager. "You know they didn't really know anything so I've seen them from you know the baby steps, all the way up to the elite levels they are at now, and it's a really cool feeling to know that you know our gear, our logo and everything that we've put into it are going to be recognized on a national stage so these kids work hard and they deserve it."

Jasper Croom and Kendal Haynie are two of the best middle school wrestlers in the Big Bend and later this week, they will showcase their talents for Team Florida in Independence Missouri, at the 2023 Adidas Wrestling Nationals.

"I think it's a really great honor to be one of their picks and somebody who they asked for me to be there," said Croom. "Just to compete outside state, it will expose more of my weaknesses and it will make me better through and through."

"Even if you win no matches whatsoever, it's going to be great for these kids," said Weslager. "I think they are both going to go there and be competitive, I think it's going to give them some confidence to realize that yes, this is a national tournament, but I belong here."

A pair, ready to show that they belong and rep their club in the process.

"It's an unknown experience that will help me be better in the future," said Haynie. "Just to meet new people and meet new friends, travel the world and stuff and do the sport I love."

"I'm hoping to go pretty deep in the brackets," Croom added. "If I'm working pretty hard, I think I can win it."

"You're getting the Team Florida gear, you're getting the red carpet experience," added Weslager. "The message is to enjoy the experience and wrestle the best you can no matter what."

A message that both Kendal and Jasper have received, and they are planning to leave it all on the mat.