Harrison senior Romario Velazquez never met Kyle Osborn, but Saturday morning Velazquez felt an instant connection with the former McCutcheon wrestling standout.
Prior to Saturday’s first Kyle Osborn Memorial Duals at McCutcheon, Mavericks assistant Travis Dale, a former teammate of Osborn’s, spoke about his friend who was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 13 while serving as a sergeant in the 1st Battalion 503rd Infantry Regiment.
“Before we started wrestling, we had time to remember the troops,” said Velazquez, who remained unbeaten on the season at 145 pounds with a 5-0 record Saturday. “These people risk their lives to protect our freedom.
“When I heard (Osborn’s) parents talking about what he did wrestling-wise and how it connected to him in the armed forces, I thought it was awesome. This guy risks his life for our freedom, and we have a strong connection because he was a wrestler.”
Velazquez was one of five Raiders to go undefeated, helping Harrison to a 5-0 mark and the team championship.
Josh Mann was the Mavericks’ lone individual champion, winning the 152-pound class, but the importance of the Kyle Osborn Memorial Duals went well beyond wins and losses.
McCutcheon sold T-shirts with Osborn’s image to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization. The Mavericks raised approximately $1,000 for the foundation.
“It was very neat to see all the teams come into one gym and just listen to (Dale) give his speech and then Creigh Osborn, Kyle’s dad, talking about the impact wrestling had on him,” McCutcheon coach Thomas Skinner said. “A moment like that is something these kids will remember, even if they didn’t know him.”
Joining Velazquez as undefeated champions from Harrison were Daniel Davis (106 pounds), JR Pullins (126), Jack Roetker (138) and Seth Meyer (220).
“We came here to wrestle, but it’s really good that they are having this to benefit the wounded soldiers,” said Davis, who is still undefeated on the season. “This was definitely a little more relaxed, but at the same time, these are really important matches to get you pumped up for sectionals. These are the same guys you are wrestling there, and you know all their moves and they know all yours.”
West Lafayette finished 4-1, with its lone loss to Harrison. Christian Clayton (160), Jade Doty (170) and John Duvall (285) all went undefeated for the Red Devils.
Benton Central’s Cole Lukaszka (113), Justin Atkinson (130) and Jacob Ricks (195) all went undefeated.