Cordova youth wins national championship

Posted: Friday, August 04, 2000

CORDOVA (AP) -- He's only 12 years old, but Chris Platt says he worked hard to gain national prominence in youth wrestling.

Platt, who's been training since early childhood, recently won the 105-pound weight category of the National Kids' Freestyle wrestling Championship in Waterloo, Iowa.

Coach Ron Horton of the Cordova Pounders said that hard work and discipline are characteristic of his young wrestlers and Platt has been with the team since he was 4 years old.

That discipline paid off for Platt when he qualified for the All-Alaska Team by taking first at the state championships at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage during the first week of May. That won Platt the opportunity to attend a three-week training camp in Anchorage, where he trained nine hours a day, six days a week.

''We ran for miles and miles each day,'' Platt told the Cordova Times.

''It was pretty grueling,'' Horton added. ''More like a boot camp.''

With that experience under his belt, Platt was off to the regional championships at Pocatello, Idaho, during the last week of June. Platt took first in the freestyle there, too.

Then it was off to the nationals in Waterloo the first week of July, where he took first place again. Platt said he hopes to repeat as champion next year. Horton said he can, but probably not in the 105-pound weight class.

''He's only about 4 percent body fat, but he's progressing at about 5 pounds a year,'' Horton said. ''I expect him to wrestle at 110 or 115 pounds next year.''

Horton added that he doesn't stress drastic weight-loss for his young charges to make a weight class. They're growing boys and if nature dictates that they move up a weight class, that's what needs to happen.

''I never try to make the kids lose more than a pound or two to make weight,'' Horton said.

Platt's weight may change, but his discipline and his work ethic will serve him well regardless of his circumstances. After his rugged journey to the top, Platt is relaxing by commercial fishing.

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