The Pin and Win Wrestling Club in Jacksonville, Florida is lucky to have Matthew Rodriquez. With first place finishes Aztec Warriors Championship, the Hardcore Championships and the Preseason Nationals America Crow, it's safe to say he's making headlines across the youth wrestling circuit.
Rodriquez wrestles in the 102-105 weight class and boasts an impressive resume. At times, he wrestles in the 106 division for the high school in his area to gain more experience, which paid off last season after he punched his ticket to the high school wrestling championships. Next season, he is looking to secure his spot on the podium.
"It was nice to be able to earn my spot at the high school state championships," said Rodriquez. "Next year however, I want to change the outcome."
Like many athletes, Rodriquez was introduced to the sport through a friend on the football team and the rest is history. Although he still competes in flag football to work on his agility, wrestling is his primary focus.
"After three weeks of practice, my dad put me in a tournament and I enjoyed it ever since," said Rodriquez."
Rodriquez got his wrestling career started in Pennsylvania with East Penn Wrestling before moving to Florida. But the sunshine state doesn't provide the same experience for wrestlers. Tournaments are few and in between, forcing Rodriquez to find other places to showcase his talent.
"When I first started wrestling in Pennsylvania, there were tournaments everywhere," said Rodqiruez. "When I got to Florida, we had to travel and always ended up wrestling the same group of kids so my father decided to take me to other states to compete."
Rodriquez finished in sixth place at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. which he calls his biggest accomplishment to date. It is widely known as one of the toughest tournaments in the country.
"A few years ago, I lost in the the qualifying match to get on the podium," said Rodriquez. "I lost by one point. I was determined all year to go back and fix what went wrong and place the following year and I did just that."
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