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Plank Jr. High Wrestler Earns All American Status

Eighth grader Kendall Elfstrum placed second in the Dixie Nationals Wrestling Tournament, which he originally entered just to gain experience.

Most kids take winter break to kick back and relax.

Not eighth grader Kendall Elfstrum, and his decision to sign up for a wrestling competition earned him All American Status.

The Plank Jr. high student was with his family in Georgia over break and found that with his USA wrestling card he could wrestle anywhere.

So he signed up for the Dixie Nationals Wrestling Tournament, along with two others, to, as his mother Lisa Elfstrum said, "to get some mat time in, gain a little more experience and just do his best."

Elfstrum's wrestling coach at Plank, Josh Edwards, said he has only been wrestling for three years. He entered the 155 lb bracket at the Dixie Nationals and ended up beating several nationally ranked wrestlers and placed second, earning himself All American status. 

Lisa said that her son's opponent he lost to by only four points in the finals was ranked in the top 13 percent on track wrestling tournaments. Elfstrum placed first and second at the other two smaller tournaments he entered.

"The wrestling bug has bitten Kendall hard!" exclaimed Lisa in a letter to Coach Edwards, who is also a physical education teacher at Plank.

"We are all very proud of Kendall," said Edwards. "It's a great story of a great kid that works hard and decided to test himself."

Special thanks to Lisa Elfstrum and Josh Edwards for the photos and information.

Lisa Elfstrum January 09, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Thanks, Nola girl! :) I had sent an email to Kendall's Plank Coach to let him know about Kendall wrestling in a few tournaments in GA and to thank him for giving Kendall such a good start/introduction into the sport. He has been a fantastic coach to many young men at Plank and helped Kendall go from a "let's try this for fun" to wanting to take it to the next level. When Coach Edwards, other coaches, parents and teammates encouraged him to join Force Wrestling Club (BIG thanks to Jessie Keagle Okayama and her strong wrestling sons and Assistant Coach Gumila!), it just took off from there! Andrew Okayama shared that he could wrestle anywhere in the US with his USA wrestling card and told him about the Dixie Nationals in Atlanta- so really he gets credit for that idea! When I emailed the info to Coach Edwards, he later called and told me he had an announcement at school planned that day and asked if he could share my info and pics that I had sent him. I didn't realize he was going to make such a big deal out of it (we were just excited he placed and didn't even realize what All American status was!). Kendall is a pretty low key guy and will likely strangle me for this later today! lol! That said, we are pretty excited to see him learning more and doing well!
Jessie Okayama January 09, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Congrats to Kendall!! :)
Lisa Elfstrum January 09, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Thanks, Jessie! You and your sons are truly a big part of this! The encouragement from you and your family and the wrestling inspiration Kendall's had from watching your boys have made an impact, no doubt! We appreciate you all so much! :)
Loreta J. January 09, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Congratulations! As a parent of an athlete, I applaud your willingness to give him all the opportunities that are available for development. You never know how far these kids can go unless we give them every chance to prove themselves!
Lisa Elfstrum January 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Thanks, Loreta! I shared your congratulations with my son! I completely agree with you on allowing our kids whatever opportunities we're able! It's not always easy and we've had to be creative at times and make sacrifices at times to do so, but we've seen the positive results it can bring in their confidence and successes along the way! Our daughter spent many years as a competitive gymnast and when a major injury caused her to retire from the sport, she changed courses and decided to cheer as part of her high school programs in STL and then here at Oswego East! Fortunately, her hard work and determination paid off and she's cheering collegiately on scholarship today! Good luck to your athlete, as well! :)

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