Young wrestler turning heads
Matthew McCutcheon turned nine years old April 12, and he's already accomplished something believed to be a first in Pennsylvania.
Matthew, a third grader in the Kiski Area School District, claimed the Cliff Keen Athletic Trinity Award for placing first in his division at three national tournaments.
"He doesn't realize what he's done yet," said David McCutcheon, his father and coach. "He just loves to wrestle."
What Matthew has done was accomplished by only 15 wrestlers around the country last year.
Matthew competed in the 75-pound weight class for the Under-8 Dragons, an elite team from western Pennsylvania.
The team participated in three tournaments -- the Cliff Keen Athletic Kickoff Classic in November, Tulsa Nationals in January and Reno World Championships in early April. Those three tournaments make up the legs of the Trinity Award.
Matthew took three gold medals, went 15-0 and surrendered only three points in those tournaments.
At the first tournament, he won the Stick-Em Award for most the most pins (three) in the least amount of time (55 seconds) in his division.
For his accomplishments, Matthew was named to the World of Wrestling all-star team, an honorary award designed to promote the sport.
Matthew certainly has worked hard for his success on the mat.
He practices five days a week during the season and one day a week during the off-season. He also lifts weights once a week and runs one to three miles twice a week, his father said.
David wrestled at Kiski Area before graduating in 1980 and at Clarion University.
"I started teaching him when he was three years old," David said. "His older brother wrestles, too. He wanted to follow in his footsteps."
Matthew appears to be carving a unique path on the mat.