Video: Wrestler with Down Syndrome Wins Match in Act of ‘Excellent Sportsmanship’

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OAKDALE — A video of an inspirational junior high school wrestling match gained tens of thousands of views on Facebook since it was posted Tuesday. Creekside Middle School wrestler Owen Tyler, who has down syndrome, is the star of the wrestling clip. During the recent dual meet against Oakdale Junior High School, the seventh-grader made his first appearance on the mat this season. When the match was finished, Owen was the winner and the owner of the biggest smile in all the valley.
“I didn’t hear them yelling, ‘Owen, Owen, Owen,’ until I saw the video,” said Owen’s mother, Cyndy. Cyndy Tyler said the magical moment was a culmination of her son’s hard work. “Proud of him for putting in the effort and to actually get something out of it,” she told FOX40. Creekside coach Hugo Culebro said Owen always sets an example for his teammates. “If we have to run, he is running,” Culebro said. “If we’re doing bear crawls or push-ups he’s doing them as well. So, Owen doesn’t shy away from hard work.” Owen’s opponent in the video is Oakdale Junior High’s Payne Perkins. “I wanted to make sure, like, I didn’t just roll over or anything,” he told FOX40 over the phone. “I went in there, I wrestled with him a little bit, I let him hit his moves, I gave him a little bit of resistance and then when he got something good I let him get it.” The eighth-grader said his little brother has autism, so he knew just how impactful his actions would be to someone with special needs. “It felt really good for me to be able to do that for someone that I know that has gone through that kind of thing,” Payne said.

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