Rider in the sky: Silt’s Josiah Rider named 2014 Wrestler of the Year
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
SILT — Josiah Rider tried to stay humble Monday when it came to talking about his most recent accomplishment on the wrestling mat.
“I was surprised, actually,” the soon-to-be ninth grader from Silt said. “I didn’t even know about it until someone told me about the poster.”
Indeed, Rider, who last year attended Rifle Middle School, has his face on a poster. And the entity that put out that poster was World of Wrestling, which named Rider the 2014 Wrestler of the Year on its World All-Star Team.
“To me,” Rider said, “it feels really good knowing that we’re doing the right things.”
Rider was given the award when the online publication combined with Wrestling USA Magazine and Suplay to present it’s 16th annual all-star team. It includes wrestlers from all over the nation from the 6-and-under age group to Rider’s 15-and-under class, and selection to the team is based on wrestler’s performances in three nationwide wrestling events.
Those tournaments are the Kickoff Classic in Tulsa, Okla., the Tulsa Nationals and the Reno (Nev.) World Championships. At the Tulsa Nationals in January, he was just the second Colorado youth wrestler to become a four-time weight-class champion at the tournament. In the Reno World Championships, he won his weight class and the tournament’s outstanding wrestler award. He also won his weight class at the Kickoff Classic in November 2013.
He finished the tournaments with 17 victories, including nine by pin.
And the awards, or at least the recognition, hasn’t stopped there.
On July 15, insidewrestling.com released its national rankings for wrestlers who’ll be freshmen in the upcoming 2014-15 season, regardless of weight class. The web site listed Rider sixth in the nation and ranked him the nation’s top 138-pound wrestler. Rider, who will join his older brother, Isaac, in attending Grand Junction High School in the fall, is also the only wrestler in Colorado that is on the list.
That list includes wrestlers such as top-ranked Gable Stevenson of Apple Valley, Minn. (195 pounds), No. 5 Ryan Thomas of Saint Paris Graham, Ohio (126), and his teammate, third-ranked Mitch Moore at 113 pounds.
“That’s really cool,” Rider said when he heard the news on Monday. “The funny thing is that I used to look up to all of those guys who were on those lists and were ranked really high. Now it’s kind of weird because I know all of those guys, so it’s kind of different to be in that category with them.”
But he is, and his wrestling itinerary extends beyond just those big nationwide tournaments that earned him the wrestler of the year award. He also won his weight class in the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Denver back in March, and he competed in the 15th annual National High School Coaches Association National Duals in Virginia Beach from May 23-26.
There’s plenty more on his itinerary before he starts wrestling for the Tigers at Grand Junction High, but there’s an ultimate goal in mind with that busy schedule.
“All I’m trying to do is get better,” Rider said.
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