Tawa wrestler bound for the US
From Hamilton to Chicago – it’s going to be a heady few days for Jordan Mellars-rose. Tawa-linden Wrestling Club has produced a number of champions in recent years, with Mellars-rose among them.
The 17-year-old was Porirua’s 2011 Young Sportsperson of the Year after winning titles at the secondary schools, North Island and Oceania championships.
On Saturday he defended his secondary schools title in Hamilton, before joining a 10-strong Kiwi team on a month-long tour of the United States.
He will train and compete at high school and college wrestling meets in Los Angeles, Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky and Oregon as part of a cultural exchange. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and he can’t wait. Half-empty halls with two mats in New Zealand will give way to huge auditoriums and 15 mats, with the standard a cut above what he is used to.
‘‘I know it’s going to be a great experience, taking my wrestling to the next level. We’re going to be training every day and taking part in up to 15 competitions.’’ He has received some assistance from the Raynor Greeks Memorial Trust, but Mellars-rose raised the bulk of the $5000 needed to fund the trip by working at a meatworks.
‘‘It was hard, I worked my butt off, but this [trip] is so important to me.’’
His coach Scott Laurenson says the trip will give the young wrestler an insight into American sports attitudes and elite competitors.
Mellars-rose has a busy winter ahead, with the North Island champs in June, followed by the Down Under Tournament in Brisbane in July.
His goal is to make the Kiwi team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
Tawa-linden Wrestling Club will host a US team in August.