We first had to get through weigh-ins. Neil went up with some friends, he made weight and then they had a wonderful evening at Incredible Pizza and then spent the night at a hotel so they could be close to the tournament. Daniel went up to weigh-ins with a different friend and her son. They came back home after weigh-ins but not after feeding the hungry wrestlers!
Neil helping one of the younger boys warm-up. This is his first season wrestling and he is seriously my favorite wrestler. He has a heart of a champion! He lost most of his matches but always had a smile! All of the older boys on the team watch out for him. They even gave him the nickname "Mango" after wrestler Spenser Mango. I just love this kid! He didn't make it to state but in my mind he's a champion!
The boys warming up and getting into the right frame of mind. I love these boys and how connected they are as a group.
The Albrecht's finished 1-1 at Regionals. Neil placed 3rd and Daniel finished 5th, just out of the running to move ahead. He is listed as an alternate but the chances of someone not going are very slim.
We had 30 boys make it to regionals and over half of them...a total of 16, are moving on to state. That is AWESOME! I will say though, every single wrestler fought hard yesterday, no one ever stopped fighting!
This included Daniel. He knew he had a tough bracket and he was focused and fought hard for every single second. He NEVER gave up! His first match of the day was against one of the toughest kids. He has beat Daniel each time. At the beginning of the season the kid would dominate Daniel. This time, he had to work hard. The kid may have won, but he won tired! Coach Davis from the high school has been helping with kids club and that's what he always says...Never stop fighting, even if your opponent wins, make them win tired. Daniel has done that time and time again this season. Coach Davis gave him a great compliment after his loss...told him that last year he was horrible and awful, but this year he finished 5th in his region! He told Daniel that so many kids spend years wrestling and never make it this far and here Daniel is in only his 2nd season and placing in the top six! Truth is, Daniel was horrible last year, I really thought he would not want to come back this year but he did and he worked hard all season and it paid off! We are so proud of him.
Daniel took his loss so hard, I knew he would be upset but he had a full-out melt down. I have never seen him react like this. It broke my heart and made me angry all the same time. He cried and cried and then yelled at his dad. At one point I thought I might have to spank him right there on the mat in front of everyone! We understood his heartache but we also expect him to have self-control. After a minute or so he regained control of himself and just sobbed in his daddy's arms. He has nothing to be ashamed of, he did his best and that's all we expect!
At the beginning of the season, Daniel and I made a deal that if he made it to regionals this year, he could get a singlet. Well he made it and this is what he chose! He got to wear it yesterday and he looked so handsome!
We weren't sure how Neil was going to do at the tournament. We knew we had it in him to go all the way but he had been sick most of the week before. He is fighting some cold/respiratory infection that is just draining all of his energy. I was so worried about him. He wont his first match but came off the mat exhausted! He was complaining his chest hurt real bad. I was worried but tried to keep it in check. Thankfully he was able to rest a bit before his next match. Unfortunately I don't think it was a long enough time for him to really recuperate and he lost his next match, putting him in a bubble match. He had to win his bubble match in order to move on to state. He was understandably upset, he knew he could have beat that kid if he had been feeling better. Poor Neil, I hate when nothing I say really helps. He went off to rest for his next match and I just hoped he could get through the next match. It would have been a kid he wrestled before and beat but on this day, who really knows. When Neil went to check in for his match, he found out that the kid had scratched, so Neil automatically moved into the match for 3rd/4th place AND he secured his slot for state! He was so happy and this mama was quite relieved! He would still have to wrestle for 3rd or 4th which is important because depending on where you finish is how you get seeded and he wanted 3rd.
He met his friend Derek (again!), these two kids do not enjoy wrestling each other but at nearly every tournament they find themselves in the same position. They are friends, teammates on the middle school team and really care about each other. But when it's time to go on the mat, they have to put friendship aside. This was their 7th meeting. I was sure Derek would have this match because Neil was obviously tired but they wrestled all three periods pretty much at 0-0 and then Neil turned it on the last 15 seconds, getting the points and winning the match. He was happy.
What I love most about these two boys is that they always end the match with the obligatory handshake AND a genuine hug! Derek was so cute, he was just so happy to be going to state and that he was going with his buddy! His dad was teasing him because he was smiling so big after a loss, but Derek just didn't care!
After an extremely tiring and emotional day, we headed home. Neil went home with friends so they could stop and eat at Chipolte. Kevin, Daniel and I stopped and ate at TGIFridays. (Hey, we live in a small community with limited choices, we have to take advantage of when tournaments take us to big cities with LOTS of choices, haha)
By the time we got back to our town, Michael was almost home from his debate tournament and we had to meet up with our friend who had Neil. We decided to just go to the high school parking lot and wait for Michael. Everyone was so tired...well except Daniel who only sleeps when the vehicle is actually moving.
I can't even believe Daniel is still eating...I swear that kid is always hungry! Neil is knocked out!
Overall a great day! I am proud of all my boys and myself...who almost got kicked out of the tournament but stayed reigned in just enough to stop myself before losing all control on a stupid lady. I might share that story someday...
Boys video montages will be coming soon!