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FC wrestler enjoys quick mat success

| Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ten-year-old Addison Knepshield doesn't remember why he started wrestling competitively three years ago, but it may have been to survive at his home in Ford City.

Addison's older brother Ian, 14, is a wrestler and so were their father and uncles in their youth.

"We wrestle each other a lot," Addison Knepshield said. "He always beats me."

That kind of competition may have helped Addison become the successful grappler he is today.

"They are like any other brothers though," Addison's father Dave Knepshield said. "They wrestle all the time. They support each other totally."

Addison may not remember why he started wrestling, but he is sure glad he did now that he has been named the 10 and under 105-pound co-wrestler of the year by the Pennsylvania Youth Wrestling Top 100.

"My dad just signed me up," Knepshield said.

Kiski's Mathew McCutcheon shares the award with Addison after leading the state's top 100 in points.

"He has a great passion for it," Rob Wallers, his wrestling coach, said. "When I first got him three years ago, he wasn't very successful, but he has a drive and no fear of sticking his nose in there.

"He is extremely coachable. I look for good things in his future."

Wallers, who runs the All-American Wrestling Club in Latrobe, definitely knows a thing or two about wrestling. He has been coaching for more than 30 years and runs the biggest wrestling club in the state.

"Addison may be the best 10-year-old wrestler I have coached in my years," Wallers said. "He may be the finest I've had in all respects."

That is a bold statement considering the fact that Wallers has coached 47 PIAA state qualifiers, 24 PIAA state place winners, 10 PIAA state runner-ups, and 3 PIAA state champions, while coaching for 24-years at Kane Area, Greensburg Salem, and Mount Pleasant high schools.

Wallers also has 5-time WPIAL sectional and two-time regional coach-of-the year on his resume.

Addison has compiled an estimated 120-10 record according to his father while winning 30 of the 35 tournaments he entered this year.

The tournaments Addison has won in the past year include the Nationals in Iowa, the PAW state championships, and the Eastern Nationals.

"That is a great accomplishment for a kid so young," Wallers said. "He has worked extremely hard and showed great amounts of perseverance."

Wallers is also quick to praise Ian Knepshield as a pretty good wrestler in the115-pound weight class.

"I'm proud of both of their efforts this year," Wallers said.

Addison and Ian will compete in Norfolk, Virginia this weekend in the National High School Coaches Association Tournament youth bracket.

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