Young wrestler has bright future |

Young wrestler has bright future

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Josiah Rider is all about wrestling. A quick glimpse into the youngster’s life tells you as much.

He’s often found drilling with his best friend, Myles Wilson, on the Rider family’s basement mat, taking in collegiate wrestling on television, or practicing with the youth program his dad coaches at New Castle Community Center.

Oh, and then there are his dominant trips to national tournaments.

The Cactus Valley Elementary School third-grader has dominated 8-and-under competition at national tournaments throughout the 2007-08 season, bringing home several first-place finishes and three Rocky Mountain Nationals series year-end awards.

Rider’s abilities clearly belie his age. After he made habit of so handily working his way through 8U brackets, his parents also began entering him into the 10U divisions at various tourney stops throughout the country.

Rider didn’t skip a beat, routinely landing top-three finishes, albeit in less-lopsided fashion.

“It’s a lot better competition,” Rider said. “There’s a lot more skill.”

He showed he’ll be a 10U force in the coming years by winning the division at the mid-March Rocky Mountain Nationals finale. Naturally, that win complemented a gold 8U finish.

“He just loves sports,” said Trever Rider, Josiah’s father. “He’s always trying to figure everything out. He’s got a lot of natural ability.”

It’s no jaw-dropper that Josiah turned to wrestling. His dad was a 152-pound state champion for Rifle High School back in 1991, and wrestled throughout his childhood.

Trever likes his son’s chances at surpassing his own wrestling feats. In dad’s eyes, Josiah already has.

“He’s definitely achieved way more than I ever have,” Trever said. “He’s having it out with some of the best kids in wrestling.”

Josiah’s been competing at national events since he was 6, though this season has, without a doubt, been the most fruitful.

His national triumphs include a win at one of the toughest youth tourneys in the nation, the Tulsa Nationals.

“When they do the championship rounds, since it’s one of the most competitive in the nation, the stands are packed out,” recalled Cori Rider, Josiah’s mother.

On top of Tulsa and Colorado tournament stops, Josiah’s also competed at the Games of Rome at Disney World in Florida and at the Gladiator in Idaho.

Add world traveler to youngster’s already impressive athletic resume, which in addition to wrestling includes exploits on the football field and baseball diamond.

Wrestling appears to be Josiah’s meal ticket though and, at 9, the youngster’s already dreaming up a big future. He hopes to one day take his wrestling career to a big-name college and keep wrestling “until after college.”

If his exceptional run at the national level continues, the precocious young wrestler shouldn’t have a problem making a life of the sport he loves.

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