Jon Mitchell

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April 11, 2012
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Rider, Wilson taking friendship to the mat

Josiah Rider and Myles Wilson know each other all too well on the wrestling mat.

The 13-year-olds from Rifle know each other's best moves, can tell how much they've progressed and know each other's strengths and weaknesses. They frequently travel together to the same youth wrestling tournaments.

They're both involved in Gladiator Wrestling, a club wrestling organization that specializes in collegiate-style wrestling and hosts tournaments around the nation.

There's only one difference. Rider has raked in numerous awards at the tournaments he's traveled to around the nation, including events in Denver, Oklahoma, Arizona, Iowa, Virginia and New Jersey. Although Wilson hasn't taken home as many first-place trophies as Rider, he's just as much a part of those wins as his practice counterpart.

"He goes everywhere I go," Rider said. "He's the only wrestling partner I've ever had, so I owe a lot of this to him."

They've been wrestling together since they were old enough to go to school, and in that time they've always been practice partners on the mat.

That's an extreme rarity, according to their coach, Trever Rider, who is Josiah's dad. He has watched the pair improve dramatically in the years they've worked together.

"You don't find a lot of kids who have the same (wrestling) partner growing up," said Coach Rider, who won a state title for Rifle High School in 1991 at 152 pounds. "A lot of times you go to practice and just jump in with whoever happens to be free. That's never happened with these guys.

"It really takes a committed partner who's willing to work all the time for these kind of results to happen," the coach continued.

Josiah Rider has a long list of favorable results since November of this past year. His most recent was the Colorado Middle School State Tournament in Denver, where he won the 95-pound weight class and was named the tournament's overall outstanding wrestler for all weight and age classes.

That's only the most recent in a string of victories for Rider, who picked up tournament victories at Monster Match at the Denver Stock Show Complex Nov. 4 and 5, at the Bighorn Tournament at Loveland's Budweiser Events Center Nov. 6, at the Cliff King Tulsa Nationals Jan. 21 and 22, at the Iowa Cliff King Mid-America Nationals Feb. 10 and 11, at dual tournaments in Virginia and New Jersey the week prior and at the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Denver March 9 and 10.

Wilson has had his share of success, too. He won the 95-pound weight class at a regional tournament at Fruita Monument High School the weekend of March 24 and a week later took second place at the state tournament in Denver.

"I've improved a lot," Wilson said. "We work together really well, and we learn the same things and use those to help each other."

That's something they plan to do for years to come.

Wilson and Rider already figure they'll be wrestling together in high school and they hope to keep the camaraderie going in college. In the meantime, their primary focus is to keep encouraging each other, traveling with each other and helping each other get better.

"Neither of them are arrogant or cocky," Trever Rider said. "They don't really talk about how much better one person did than another, but they're still good enough friends that they can tease each other when they lose.

"But overall, they have good heads on them, because it's not about winning trophies to them. It's always about getting better."

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 11, 2012 05:54PM Published Apr 11, 2012 05:53PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.