Big Cat Battle, 2019

Story told by: Henry

I had my first wrestling tournament of the season at Mead High School in Spokane this past Saturday! I miss the age cutoff for most of the Washington wrestling tournaments by 17 days, but both this tournament and one in April are considered “open” tournaments, so I can do both of those. By doing this, it means I’m one of the youngest kids out there, but it doesn’t phase me one bit!

Because of snow and ice on the roads, we went up on Friday afternoon as opposed to driving up at 5 a.m. on Saturday. We tried to eat at Red Robin or Olive Garden since we don’t have those in Pullman, but the wait times there were over 30 minutes, so….Applebee’s it was.

We were being pretty silly.

The girls’ response to “those crazy boys.”

Caleb was doing the tournament as well, so the Knights stayed in the hotel with us. And the O’Loughlins wanted to come watch us and join in on the fun, so they also joined. We all dumped our bags in our rooms, quickly changed, and met in the pool!

After an hour in the pool, we watched the ending of a movie, and then went straight to bed because I had an early weigh-in the next morning!

Up and ready to leave at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

With all of our friends at the hotel, we were able to tag team it. Daddy and I went with Caleb, Sean, and Sarah to save seats and weigh in at 7.

Since wrestling wouldn’t start until 9:30, everyone else stayed behind to eat breakfast and watch cartoons before being confined to the gym all day.

Brody had a giant waffle and fruit loops for breakfast. (He was obviously living the hotel dream life.)

Once the rest of the crew did a coffee run for everyone, they arrived ready for some wrestling!

Me and my six-year-old buddies.

Mrs. O’Loughlin made sure to sneak in lots of pictures with us on our devices. She’s so silly.

There were 630 wrestlers at this tournament, which makes it the biggest tournament I’ve ever been in.

Getting my game face on.

Almost go time!

With my buddies Pierce, Sonny, and Truman back in the pairing room, which is where we go to wait to be matched up with whoever we’ll be wrestling.

I was the first wrestler of the whole tournament to be called out! I got to go right away, and I won this match! I didn’t pin him, but I instead won by points.

I was wrestling all six-year-olds, and this kid was only three pounds heavier than me, but quite a bit taller. I fought hard, but lost this match. (This kid ended up taking second place.)

In between matches, we mostly ate, watched shows, and did pipe cleaner crafts.

Lainey playing UNO with Caleb.

Brody’s buddy from preschool, Eliana, has a big brother wrestling, so they had lots of fun together.

I fought hard again, but also lost match three. (This kid ended up taking first place.)

I won match four by pinning this guy!!

While we were waiting for awards, Lainey found her buddy, Damien. They were born one day apart at Pullman Regional Hospital. He used to live in Pullman and our families all went to church together, but now his family lives in Spokane. It was fun to see them!

I had a bye for the last match, and after waiting for results, it was determined I got a bronze medal!

Mommy and Daddy are SO proud of me for not giving up! I just did my best and kept trying!

In the Idaho tournaments last fall, I got all gold medals and one silver medal. But of all my medals, this bronze medal is the medal I had to fight for the most. I earned every bit of this medal!

We left the tournament around 5, grabbed dinner to go, and hit the road to head home. Brody was the first one out (note the sucker still in hand).

I wasn’t far behind Brody.

Lainey didn’t fall asleep, but she also didn’t want to be left out of picture taking.

I’ll continue to attend practices for the next couple of months, and then I’ll be put to the test again in the April tournament. I can’t wait! (And special thanks to the O’Loughlins and Knights for being such a fantastic cheering team!!)

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