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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Verrado's Kramer is a wrestling coach's best friendJan 3, 2013
Thursday (Dec. 3) started out like an old country song for Mike Bostwick.
“My dog ran away,’’ he said.
With the uncertain whereabouts of man’s best friend, Bostwick at least could turn to a wrestling coach’s best friend, Josh Kramer, to work with during practice.
Kramer is on the fast track to becoming one of the state’s top wrestlers in the lower weight classes, regardless of division.
The sophomore from Buckeye Verrado will attempt to overtake a formidable group in the 106-pound class in the annual Peoria Invitational at Peoria High, on Friday (Jan. 4) and Saturday (Jan. 5). The 33-team event annually is one of the strongest leading up to state-tournament competition in February.
Kramer finished fourth at the Division III state meet as a freshman with a 45-9 record, and now has much bigger goals in mind.
“I want to be a three-timer (state champion),’’ he said.
The Peoria Invitational will mark Kramer’s first go-round at 106 this season. In the early part of the season, he wrestled at 113 to gain quickness and strength to help him at his more natural lower level. He expects to have seven or eight matches at the tournament.
“He is a super-tough kid,’’ Bostwick said. “He wrestled in a lot of events across the country over the summer, and I think that really helped him. He has a great work ethic.’’
And Kramer has an understanding of all aspects of the sport.
“He knows the basics very well and has this feel for wrestling that some kids don’t have until they are older, and some don’t have it at all,’’ Bostwick said.
It has served Kramer well thus far as he helps younger wrestlers, including his brother, who is in middle school. And he hopes it will in the future when he becomes a coach himself.
Kramer and Marcos Martinez, another outstanding Verrado wrestler in the middle weights, enjoy being leaders. Martinez currently is sidelined with an injured elbow. He will not participate in the Peoria, but hopes to return for state competition.
“It’s great to be able to talk to the younger guys, help them, show what they should do,’’ Kramer said.
He is trying to excel in the classroom as well, getting mainly B’s and A’s, and taking a few honors classes. Math is his favorite subject.
Kramer first became interested in wrestling as a fourth-grader when he saw a poster on a bulletin board that asked for students to try the sport.
“I liked it from the beginning. It was fun and it helps you develop a work ethic,’’ he said.
When match time comes, Kramer becomes more intense.
He likes to use his quickness to take his opponent down, he said, “then let him up and break him.’’
And if all goes well, the reward comes at the end when the referee grabs his hand and raises it into the air.
“There’s no other feeling like it,’’ Kramer said.
Well, maybe one other . . . Bostwick’s dog returned, and all was right with the world.