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Medals and 'big' meals: Wrestling's allure to third-grade girl

Staff writer

Madison Kenney doesn’t mince words about why she prefers to wrestle girls.

“I like wrestling girls more than boys because boys usually sweat more,” the 9-year-old Hillsboro Wrestling Club athlete said.

Madison recently placed fourth in the 90-pound class for girls 8 and younger at the 2023 State Folkstyle Championship in Topeka. Madison is 9 but was 8 at the start of the season, when classes are determined.

Madison became interested in wrestling when her younger brother wanted to try it.

“I looked at some videos and decided I wanted to try it,” she said.

Her brother quit before regionals, but she’s hooked. A third grader, she plans to wrestle at Hillsboro Middle School when she’s old enough. She also plays soccer but likes wrestling more.

The hardest part of wrestling is “wrestling new people,” she said, “because usually you don’t know their weaknesses.”

Her favorite part?

“I like getting medals and getting bubblegum from the coaches before we wrestle,” she said.

She likes her medals — and now she has a plaque, too — so much that she sneaked them into her backpack recently to take to school. She keeps them in an orange box at home. She put the whole box in her backpack.

When one of her teachers saw all her medals — Madison thinks she has nine — the teacher said something to the effect of “watch out for her.”

Wrestling has taught Madison to be more proactive and assertive.

“You seem a lot more confident,” her father, Chuck Kenney, told her.

Kenney said he was “pleasantly surprised she wanted to wrestle — and proud.”

During the season, which is now over, Madison practices twice a week. She competed in 32 matches during the club season. Her record is 9-23. Seven of her victories were pins.

When she wins, she likes to celebrate by “eating something big.”

That usually means a Baconator from Wendy’s.

One thing she doesn’t quite understand about wrestling is why she has to wear a singlet.

“I guess your pants might fall down,” she said.

Last modified March 23, 2023

 

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