Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/11/2009 (3736 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Caleb Rutner is about to break out, and at the ripe old age of 14, the sky is his limit. The Grade 9 Kelvin student has been wrestling since he was five years old and claims his dad Toby, who is one of the coaches at the Winnipeg Wrestling Club, can't take him any more. "His age is catching up to him," Rutner laughed.
"He can, it's true," said Toby, a Winnipeg psychologist. "He's too strong for me. He's something like 130 pounds, but he's good, and I'm limited to what I can do to help him, because he is so strong."
The elder Rutner knows what he's talking about. He grappled for his high school in New York, then wore the colours of Nebraska State University from 1961-63.
Like two other WWC wrestlers, Aislynn Torfason and Liz Sera, who left Manitoba for Lakehead University the University of Western Ontario to get top-quality competition, Rutner has turned his attention from Manitoba to North Dakota.
Last July, Rutner, who has dual Canadian and American citizenship, represented Team North Dakota at the Northern Plains Regionals in Rockford, Ill., and finished fourth in the 68-kilogram division against some of the best wrestlers from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Illinois.
He advanced to the finals with an upset victory over Eddie Gonzalez (Illinois), the 2009 USA Wrestling Folkstyle national champion. He went on to defeat Joey Nelson of Wisconsin in the first round of the bronze-medal match, but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
"In my final match, I had a minor concussion," Rutner said. "I was throwing someone and they landed on my head and I got a minor concussion, but I'm OK now."
Rutner will still compete in Manitoba, though there's really no one here to challenge him. On Saturday, he'll be locking up at the Elmwood High School Open, which begins at 9 a.m.
Now that he's 14, all kinds of doors will open for him. At 13, he was not eligible to try out for the national team. Now, he has the option of trying out for either the Canadian or American national teams.
"We have high hopes for him," Toby said. "We're looking at the Canadian national cadet championship. He could have medalled in it last year, but he was too young to compete, so he wrestled in the U.S., instead. We're also looking at the U.S. championships in Fargo this year."
Europe is also in the cards. "There is the possibility of the Youth Wrestling Festival in Vienna, Austria, which WWC head coach Kris Stasiak (former Olympian with the Polish team) is quite keen about him going to," said Toby. Last year, Rutner began wrestling Greco-Roman as well as freestyle. "It's a good idea to do both," he reasoned. "There are some things from Greco that I can use in freestyle, and some things in freestyle that I can use in Greco. In Greco, you can't do any moves below the waist, but it's pretty much the same, so why not do both?"
Rutner says he'll probably end up wrestling for an American university one day, but he's undecided what national team he will wrestle for.
"I was thinking about that," he said. "I'd want to go with the American (university), but maybe stay with the Canadian (national team), because I was born here."
At his age, the soft-spoken grappler has plenty of time to come to grips with his options.