There comes a time when a parent’s wishes no longer are enough and the desire to do something must come from their child.
For Trence Robinson and his son Montez, that moment came after the end of last season. Montez had grown tired of the dedication the sport requires and lost his passion for it, no matter how badly Trence wanted him to pursue wrestling.
After making Montez sign a contract stating he would wrestle last year, Trence did no such thing this summer. If Montez was going to wrestle, it had to be because he wanted to.
And much to the surprise to them both, Montez ended up making his own contract and bringing it to his father. He wanted to wrestle and he wanted to become a champion, like his brother, Marcus.
On Saturday night at Hartman Arena, Marcus, a junior at Arkansas City, and Montez, a sophomore, both climbed atop the podium after winning championships.
“Your word is your bond with me and I made sure he honored it,” Trence said of Montez. “That’s important to me. I think you could really see a difference this year because wrestling was something he really wanted to do.”
So how did Montez rediscover his love for the sport?
He said the inspiration came after watching Marcus win a national tournament in the summer.
“I didn’t have the love for it no more at the start of this summer,” Montez said. “But watching my brother win, it made me want to come back and win state...just like him.”
For Marcus, the championship was expected.
He has always been the most dedicated to wrestling and his hard work has translated to three state championships. This coming after he shocked his father by telling him he would win four in his career before he even wrestled his first match.
“I remember he told me, ‘Dad, I’m going to win four state championships in high school,’” Trence recalled. “I was like, ‘Let’s just focus on making the team first, son.’ ”
On Saturday, Marcus won the 126-pound championship via a first-period pin of Goddard’s Logan Pirl.
After splitting the two meetings prior this season, Robinson won the finale when he correctly guessed what Pirl was going to try in a scramble and catching him exposed, which he capitalized with the pin.
But for Montez, this was an upset.
It was an accomplishment for him to even be wrestling for the championship, let alone thinking he could take down Mill Valley’s Conner Ward, who had been the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the weight class for the majority of the season.
Montez showed impressive poise and patience for a sophomore in a close match that entered overtime tied 2-2. In overtime, with just seconds remaining, Robinson was able to thwart a shot attempt by Ward and sneak around him for the sudden-death victory.
It was emotional for the entire Robinson family: Trence, Marcus, Montez, and Christian, a sophomore who hopes to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and make the finals with them next season.
“All of the hard work the boys have put in makes this so special,” said Trence, as tears began to form in his eyes. “Missing danaces, missing going out and hanging out with friends to go to practice. The traveling time. Watching what they east. It’s just a lot of hard work. This is so amazing. I think I’m still in shock.”
As the final seconds ticked away, Montez said all of the hard work he had put in during the last year was going through his mind.
“I had to keep going,” Montez said. “I couldn’t give up now. I put in too much hard work. I just kept thinking, ‘I can’t lose, I can’t lose.’ I came into this match with the mindset I wasn’t going to lose and that’s what helped me.”
And to think, this moment almost never happened if Montez would have quit.
Smiling together with their first-place medals and championship brackets in hand, Marcus was glad his brother decided to come back for this.
“We trained and sacrificed so much for this, so this is the pay-off today,” Marcus said. “This is what you train two and three hours every day for: the six minutes of fame.”
Other area champions — Arkansas City also had a champion in Jake Beeson, who capped off a 42-2 season with a championship victory in 138 over Great Bend’s Keaton Sander via pinfall, while Kapaun Mount Carmel junior Michael Spangler also succeeded in his bid to win back-to-back titles in 106 with an 8-2 decision over Ark City’s Gabe Buckbee.