Vancouver wrestling team looks to 7-year-old as source of streng - KPTV - FOX 12

Vancouver wrestling team looks to 7-year-old as source of strength

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

The team victories may be tough to come by for a young group of wrestlers at Vancouver's Heritage High School, but the Timberwolves were all champions Wednesday night.

Second year Heritage head wrestling coach Erik Gonzalez joined forces with the Muscle Movement Foundation to host the second annual Pin Muscle Disease night.

Gonzalez said he trains his wrestlers to pin to win, both on and off the mat, teaching that wrestling is a sport of strength, technique and endurance.

“One of the things we always talk about with our kids is, we want to go out and wrestle every match, every practice, like it could be our last because truly we don't know,” he said. “None of us ever knows when it could be.”

Gonzalez’s message has had a big impact on his team, who say they are learning skills for the mat and for life.

“It gives a good impression to us wrestlers,” junior Cole Miller said. “We are trying our best to make a positive change for our community, and I think Coach Gonzalez is doing that and trying his best.”

The victorious evening Wednesday honored a young champion in life, 7-year-old Angeal Kayiales. All of the funds raised at the event went directly to the family of the Woodland first-grader who is battling a genetic neuromuscular disease that is slowly robbing his strength, though he is a gamer.

Angeal had a front row seat for the dual match between Heritage and Union as the T-wolves are dedicating their season to him.

While Gonzalez said that teenage kids can sometimes only focus on themselves and struggle to look down the road to the big picture, that isn't the case for this pack of Timberwolves.

“It just makes us realize how good we have it,” junior Kyle Bare said. “Almost all of us have houses, good homes and we're healthy and we have our lives.”

“It drives us by showing that we always can be better, we can always work hard as he is working hard just to stay alive,” freshman captain Alex Newberry added. “Survival is key and he is pushing it hard every single day and we need to push just as hard on the mat and in life.”

To help the Timberwolves and Angeal fight off muscle disease, visit their donation site at classy.org/twolveswresting.

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