The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Ivie, Elor & O’Hearon made most of RMN experiences
Editor’s Note: In this series, young Western athletes share what brought them success on and off the mat.
By Bill X. Barron
Dillon Ivie (Utah): Challenge Him
Eleven-year old Dillon Ivie knows what it is like to be underestimated. But he understands the path to greatness, as his cousin was a state champion. His small town of Altamont, Utah, is home to a big-time club known as the Longhorns, coached with skill by Cole and Steve Sanderson, the brother and father of Cael.
The Sandersons teach their proteges at an early age with the ethic that losing a match is less important than what you learn from the experience.
Dillon embraces the idea that even if his opponent is “stronger, faster, taller,” he can always find a way to beat him. The Sandersons taught him to focus on one opponent at a time, to be upbeat whether on or off the mat and to be considerate of all people, especially his parents and elders. In addition to his expertise in wrestling, Dillon is a talented rodeo rider who competes locally and nationally in calf riding, pole bending, goat tying, and the rope tie.
Dillon looks forward to the “good competition” afforded him at RMN events. The heavy Triple Crown trophy with a wrestler attacking a lion is “prestigious — you have to earn it, it is not given to you.” His mother Rebecca values that RMN is “committed to giving back to the community.”
A member of the elite RMN Xtreme Pro Team, Dillon appreciates the fact that event staff will drop what they are doing to cheer him on matside.
Dillon interacts with his opponents before and after a match. After vanquishing another wrestler, Dillon has been known to take him aside to show what techniques he used to beat him. A “genuinely nice kid,” Dillon possesses hometown values, as he remains humble about his potential for greatness. At the heart of what we all celebrate, Dillon makes everyone around him better for his presence and his perseverance.
Amit Elor (California):
I Refuse to Give Up!
(Note: Elor wrote the following.)
When I first started wrestling, I was the only girl on the mat. Many wrestlers did not want to partner with me in practice and some coaches didn’t want me there either. It was awkward and made me feel like an outsider.
Refusing to give up, however, I learned to deal with rejection by developing thick skin and standing up for myself. Whether I win or lose, my mom always tells me she is proud of me. She always does her best to help me follow my wrestling passion. I wouldn’t be the wrestler I am today without her help.
I started training with Coach Valentin Kalika a few months before the 2016 Olympics. Some practices are on the beach, which is fun but challenging, as we carry and throw boulders. It was astounding how quickly my freestyle wrestling and attitude improved in just a few practices. Coach Kalika’s techniques just clicked for me. His stories about international wrestling lit a fire in my heart. My Olympic dream has now become an Olympic goal. Since 2016, I train with Coach Kalika as often as I can.
Wrestling has made me a hard worker and taught me to never give up. It has taught me to maintain a growth mindset: if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Wrestling has helped my time-management skills and gives me confidence in myself. I believe anyone who can survive grueling practices can also conquer challenges in school.
I love RMN events! Can’t get enough of them! RMN events are enjoyable because the events have large venues with large crowds; they are well organized and on time, have fun graphic-design themes, and exciting opening ceremonies with light shows and smoke. RMN events are rewarding because they are challenging. My mom acknowledges that she has “fallen in love with RMN” to the point of being “addicted” to the atmosphere where “wrestling is a celebration” and where you have “knowledgeable people at all levels” who know how to represent the sport.
\Wrestling has shaped me into a person who has self-control, confidence, tenacity, appreciation for the little things (food and water), and gratitude for being able to wrestle and meet new people. Without wrestling, I think that I would be less grateful, not have as much confidence and patience, and would not be as positive in my overall attitude.
Riker O’Hearon (Utah):
Welcome All Competition
While just eight years old, Riker O’Hearon already has the mindset and work habits of those wrestlers destined to be great. Welcoming all competition, Riker travels all over the country seeking out top competitors. Riker relishes the tough competition that he finds at RMN events, knowing that when he earned the Triple Crown, Golden Gear and Ring of Fame that he did it against the best. Riker especially appreciates that all of the RMN staff have accepted him as “part of the family.”
The championship mindset is a direct result of training with Utah’s top club, Champions, coached by Craig LaMont whom his father Rick thanks for “being an inspiration.” Riker also trains for the state’s national team with coach Jade Rauser as well as his brother Johnny, a two-time Utah state champion.
In addition, Riker receives personal lessons from Grant LaMont, a Utah three-time state champ and currently a starter for Utah Valley University. Based on what has made him good at an early age, Riker encourages younger wrestlers to “never give up, keep going no matter what, and accomplish your goals.”
According to his father, Rick, wrestling has helped Riker to become “better at expressing his emotions.
“Riker constantly seeks tougher partners and is very self-motivated. Riker is a kid who loves wrestling as much as he loves us, which makes all the hard work worthwhile.”