He may just be the best grappler in the nation for his age and weight.1
This weekend, January 19-20, 2007, he travels to Tulsa for another tournament—the 52nd Annual Cliff Keen Tulsa Nationals. See www.worldofwrestling-roller.com/main.asp
Remarkably, however, he may not even be the best wrestler in his family, pound for pound.
Primos Mario y Moises
Felipe’s two cousins, Mario and Moises Guillen, nine and eight years of age respectively, are intent on matching their kin’s accomplishments. The two youngsters, both with the East Toledo Wrestling Club, also have lofty national rankings. Mario finished second at the Cliff Keen Kickoff Classic in Tulsa last November, at 55 pounds, and Moises finished fifth. At a national tournament in Cincinnati several weeks ago, Mario finished first and Moises third.
What makes these youngsters achievements so far this year even more impressive is the fact that they just moved up into the nine and 10 year-old age bracket. Usually they are wrestling older, more experienced kids.
And according to their uncle, Joe Campos, it’s not easy to compete when you have garnered such attention so early.
“We went down to the Cliff Kean Kickoff Classic in November 2005 and it was like Mario had a bull’s-eye on his back,” says Campos. “Everybody had heard of him.”
Not that it really mattered. Mario won the gold medal that year at 46 pounds.
So what’s in the future for the Guillen brothers? Will they follow their older cousin to southwest Ohio?
Too soon to tell, says Campos. The family will wait to judge the state of the wrestling programs at local high schools when the boys are ready for that step. Mario has indicated that he would love to attend Lakewood’s St. Edwards, the Division I cream of the high school crop.
But if dedication counts for anything, Mario and Moises will remain on top for quite some time. Evenings in the Guillen home present an unusual scene for the uninitiated. Mario and Moises are not generally outside running around the neighborhood, or in the living room watching television or playing video games. A typical evening for these grapplers is working out in the basement, lifting, practicing technique, honing their skills … hour after hour.
And during those endless workouts, there’s one thing they know for certain—their older cousin, Felipe, is doing exactly the same thing … trying to get better!