It’s a family affair at Ellis County’s only countywide wrestling club.
On the twenty-five member team, there are eight pairs of siblings. Two of the more successful brothers are Brady and Jackson Van Bevers.
Brady is a sixth grader at Turner Middle School in Waxahachie and is competing in his fifth year of wrestling. He is a four time Texas State Champion, as well as a second place finisher at the Tulsa Nationals and a fourth place finisher at the Liberty Nationals in 2007.
His little brother, Jackson Van Bevers is following in big brother’s footsteps. Jackson is a first grader in Waxahachie and is already an accomplished wrestler.
Jackson is wrestling in his third year of competition and is a two time Texas State Champion.
Wrestling out of Midlothian are a pair of wrestling brothers, Levi and Phillip Klinglesmith, ages nine and eleven.
Between the two brothers, they bring a total of eleven years of wrestling experience onto the mat.
There’s also a couple of cases of little brother leading big brother to the mat.
Last year Zachary Schueler and Dalton “Maverick” Potter battled it out every practice. As kindergarteners last year, these young Mat Dawgs practiced every day like varsity football players.
Zachary fell just short of medaling at the Rookie State Championship, while Maverick brought home the championship. Their successes lured their big brothers onto the mat in 2007.
Zachary’s brother, Jared Schueler is an eighth grader at Waxahachie Junior High School and pinned his competitor in his first competitive match this year.
Maverick’s brother Dylanger Potter has brought the same intensity to the mat as little brother. In the first three tournaments, Dylanger, age nine, has brought home three gold medals.
There’s also a case of little brother leading big sister to the mat. Nicholas Shook, a second grader in Waxahachie wrestled with great heart in 2006.
Despite being in the weight division with some of the highest numbers of competitors, Nicholas consistently medaled throughout the year. Some of his brackets started with twenty-six wrestlers.
Nicky’s successes lured his big sister to the mat, Madigan Shook who is a six grader at Turner Middle School.
Madigan is wrestling with the boys and has already brought home a fourth place medal.
New to the team this year are the Ennis brother’s Hunter and Noah Vasquez. These guys have taken the mat by storm. In three tournaments, the Vasquez brothers have brought home four gold medals and a silver medal. Wrestling beside the brothers is their cousin Michael Vasquez, also from Ennis.
At 10-years old, Michael Vasquez has medaled in each of the first three tournaments. He has earned second, third, and fourth place medals. Gold will soon be his.
Adam and Diego Arredondo have wrestled for the Ellis County Mat Dawgs for three years in a row.
Adam has brought home medals from the State Tournaments for two years running.
Graham and Layne Stanush close out the sibling line up.
Layne Stanush is an accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, and has brought that competitive spirit to his second year of wrestling with the Ellis County Mat Dawgs.
His little brother Graham is following suit into both martial art forms.
With the sibling pairs are nine additional wrestlers: Justen Allen, Michael Fotheringham, Don Hinds, Zachary Humphreys, Patrick Lawrence, Michael Munoz, Hunter Riley, Dalton Samek, and the aforementioned Michael Vasquez.
The Ellis County Mat Dawgs traveled to Allen, Texas to compete in the Allen Tournament of Champions last weekend.
Entering eighteen wrestlers, the Mat Dawgs brought home thirteen medals despite five hundred and ninety five wrestlers entering the tournament.
The Mat Dawgs winning percentage continues.
This weekend, the team will split up, with the more experienced wrestlers traveling to El Paso to compete in a National tournament, and the rest competing in the Frisco Tournament.
Over seven hundred wrestlers are anticipated to compete in Frisco.