Shoemaker wins third straight Kids’ State title
Bryce Shoemaker is becoming a phenom at an early age.
He is taking the sport of wrestling by storm. The Baldwin Junior High School seventh grader is dominating the Kansas scene. He already knows that wrestling will be his future for several years to come.
"It will probably be the sport that gets me into college, but football is my favorite sport," Shoemaker said. "I am just really small, so wrestling is my best sport."
On March 30, Shoemaker won his third consecutive Kansas Kids' State Wrestling championship at the Topeka Expocenter. He won the 12-and-under, 80-pound title. It was his fourth overall individual championship.
He said the excitement of winning the state title isn't quite as great when it's your fourth, but he still enjoys it enough to keep competing.
"It felt good to win and it was fun," Shoemaker said. "It's always fun to win state. It's always a thrill at the beginning, but it wears off."
Although he was calm and collected after the championship, his mother, Melinda, said every match makes her nervous.
"It's nerve racking watching him wrestle," she said. "Even though I see him win all of these tournaments or meets, it's nerve racking for me."
This year's Kids' State Tournament might not have been as hard on her since he pinned every opponent en route to his victory. He pinned all four wrestlers, including the final one during the third period.
That wasn't his goal, because he never thought he could pin the runner-up in his weight class.
"I wrestled really well and I wrestled hard," B. Shoemaker said. "I pinned everyone at state. The last kid was tough, but I never thought I could pin him. It was awesome."
His mother said one of his goals was to win the kids' state championship this year and a national tournament. He achieved both this winter.
"This was one of his goals for the year," M. Shoemaker said. "We are already working on next year's goal of winning state again and winning three national tournaments. He keeps raising the bar and that's important."
She said he wants to win the National Triple Crown next year. That includes the freestyle, folkstyle and Greco-roman championships.
He won the Kansas Triple Crown this year, but hopes to earn the national one a year from now.
B. Shoemaker also hopes to win a high school state championship, especially after watching Baldwin High School senior Kevin Callahan earn his first in February.
"I like to take things year by year," B. Shoemaker said. "I hope to win some state titles in high school. That would be awesome."
As his success has increased, the Shoemaker family has spent more and more time watching the sport of wrestling than many others. It has become a huge part of their family, thanks to young Bryce.
"It's big in our household," M. Shoemaker said about wrestling. "As parents, you follow what your kids are doing. My husband and I were always big basketball fans, but our kids have never been big into basketball. We've had to learn cross country because of Madison (BHS senior and daughter of Dennis and Melinda) and wrestling. It's been fun."
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