With the help of the community, Warriors head coach Joel Partridge has been growing the wrestling community in Socorro for several years, and the Warriors team has the trophies to prove it.
“State championships do not matter,” said Partridge. “When you see that kid here in front of you having kids of their own and wanting to wrestle for positive reasons, that is when I know this has been successful. You cannot take wrestling away from us. When we’re old and having coffee, I want all of these boys and girls to remember wrestling for Socorro.”
Two youth competitors will be visiting Virginia Beach for a competition in December to represent Socorro for the New Mexico Junior Wrestling team. The two players that will hit the mat on the road trip are seventh-grader Isiah Estrada, who went to the tournament last year and is in his fifth year in the youth league, and Kadeyn “King James” McNeil. Kadeyn, a sixth-grade student, had to win two matches this previous week in order to be eligible to travel with the state team.
“I’ve been part of this group since day one,” McNeil said. “My older brother played, and I just fell in love with the sport. Seeing people active while also learning things all the time made me want to achieve goals for myself. These coaches teach me not just wrestling but also life stuff.”
Coach Partridge, a vice-president on the New Mexico Junior Wrestling board, credits the parents, coaching and dedication to the success of these two young athletes.
“This is one of the greatest youth tournaments in the country,” he said. “Olympic competitors start off at tournaments like this. It is the best of the best. We always try to find the best competition. To have two of our kids going shows how great the future of Warriors wrestling can be.”
The upcoming Holiday Duals will take place with weigh-ins on Dec. 9 at the Virginia Beach Sports Center.