Breaking records

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle Brookpark Middle School student Jaden Mattox recently won his third straight Ohio Athletic Committee Jr. High Wrestling Championship. With this win, Mattox became only the eighth-grade wrestler in the state, and the first from central Ohio, to have achieved this distinction.
Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Brookpark Middle School student Jaden Mattox recently won his third straight Ohio Athletic Committee Jr. High Wrestling Championship. With this win, Mattox became only the eighth-grade wrestler in the state, and the first from central Ohio, to have achieved this distinction.

As a younger child, one of Jaden Mattox’s favorite things to do was to watch his older brother Gage wrestle. Whenever he was practicing with his friends in the basement, their father, Mark would have to bring Jaden downstairs because he would get fussy if unable to see what they were doing. Usually, he just sat there and observed, but eventually he had to be fitted with headgear as he made his way onto the mat.

It was when Jaden was 2 that he made his first splash in the world of wrestling. He was at a local tournament, trying to cheer on his brother and cousin as they competed, when he decided he needed to be a part of the action. He snuck away from his mother, Trina, went onto the floor, disrobed to unveil a singlet he had put on without Trina’s knowledge, and proceeded to tell and show the older wrestlers what they needed to do.

“He thought he was the coach and the best wrestler out there,” said Trina with a laugh.

After rolling about on the mats for several minutes, Jaden was finally corralled but it was on that night that a wrestling star was born.

At the age of 4, Jaden started learning more complex wrestling moves. He would challenge Gage, Gage’s friends, his father and anyone else in his youth program at Central Crossing that was willing to take on his feisty self. Soon after, he joined the Team Miron Wrestling Facility in Dublin, which is renowned for churning out world-class wrestlers.

In the years since joining Team Miron, he has made a name for himself in the national wrestling world. He had amassed over 120 wins in a row, competed against and defeated some of the best wrestlers in the country in his weight class, won numerous state and national championships and recently became only the eighth individual in the state of Ohio to win three Ohio Athletic Committee Jr. High Wrestling Championships in a row.

Jaden took his latest accomplishment in stride.

“I was pretty excited when I won because there have not been many people to do that,” he said. “Then again, I wasn’t too pleased at the time because I felt I could have done better.”

Trina said Jaden handily beat his final opponent at the OAC but mentioned that Jaden has always been a bit of a “sore winner.”

Mark said that Jaden has always been extremely competitive.

“When he was young, I would put him on my stomach and he would always try to keep me pinned down,” he said. “If I started moving around, he would get mean and mad and try his best to keep me on the ground, so I guess he must have been born with that will to win.”

Jaden mainly gives credit for his desire to be the best he can be to his long-time wrestling coach Miron Kharchilava.

“He’s the only reason why I’m as good as I am,” he said.

Kharchilava said he is only part of the reason why Jaden is one of the best wrestlers in the state, if not the country.

“To be a good wrestler, you have to have talent, work ethic and dedication,” said Kharchilava, a renowned wrester who was a member of the Soviet National Team. “You have to make a sacrifice to this sport and what makes Jaden so great is that he has been here a long time and has been so consistent with his training.”

He said Jaden comes to the facility three days a week for hours at a time to train and practice and then comes each weekend for camp to seek additional training.

“I’m very disciplined and can be very tough on my kids but Jaden is a feisty young man and a very hard-worker.”

Kharchilava said he respects Jaden because he puts so much time and hard work into this sport and excels at school at the same time.

“He is a really good kid with a great heart,” he said. “He’s a role model for all of my students and he will have a great future.”

He added he looks forward to seeing what Jaden can do at the high school level – he will attend Central Crossing next year.

“If he sticks through it, he can get a scholarship to anywhere he wants to go,” said Kharchilava.

Jaden said he has his sights set on Penn State, Ohio State, Oklahoma University or West Point, but says right now he is focused on an upcoming dual in Illinois and trying to get to 106 in time for high school. He has set lofty goals for his high school wrestling career – to win four high school state titles and to lose less than three matches while at Central Crossing.

“I expect to lose once or twice during my freshman year,” he said “but in my sophomore, junior and senior years, that shouldn’t happen and I would be really let down if it does.”

With that determination, it probably would not be wise to bet against him.

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