When it comes to discussing the topic of wrestling, Nathan Tomlin, 10, who has competed in national championships such as Monster Mash Nationals, Rocky Mountain Nationals and AAU Nationals, doesn't think too deeply about his athletic achievements.
"I don't know," Tomlin said regarding what his favorite medal earned in wrestling might be.
"I don't know," he said about his physical prowess.
"I guess so," Tomlin said about his wish to win a state championship.
"Kids his age don't really give too much thought to it," said his mother, Debbie Tomlin. "They just go out, have fun and compete."
And while the future sixth-grade student is short on words, it doesn't seem to impact his involvement in sports. Baseball, football hockey and wrestling are a few of his extracurricular activities. While he lists hockey as his favorite, wrestling has been the sport to fill his room with trophies and medals.
"Medals aren't good enough for them now," Debbie Tomlin said. "They only want to go to the tournaments that hand out trophies."
He begins his bid to return to the nationals Friday for freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling for the third consecutive year. This would be accomplished with a top-six finish at the Southern Plains Regional in Topeka, Kan. Tomlin won his weight class at the regional last year, but he has moved up a weight and from the 10 & U age group to the 12 & U group.
"I still want to win," he said. "But there are a lot of good wrestlers there."
There are 42 wrestlers qualified from seven states for Tomlin's weight bracket but he said there are normally about 12 wrestlers at the tournament. The weekend is split into Greco Roman on Saturday and freestyle on Sunday. The different styles are dictated by takedowns. In Greco Roman, a wrestler can only get a takedown with an upper body throw. Changing styles in the matter of one day doesn't seem to bother Tomlin.
"I've done the two so much, I don't have to think about it," he said. "I just know by my instincts."
Nathan's sister, Clara, also wrestles and the family drives across the country to get to the tournaments. This year, they purchased a motor home to make those trips more comfortable.
"I got tired of driving all over in a car," Debbie Tomlin said. "This way we can stay right next to the venue and not have to get up as early for the tournament. We can also take some of his teammates."
If the defending champion is able to qualify for the nationals with a top-six finish in either Greco Roman or freestyle, the family will be back in the motor home for a trip to Enid, Okla., during the July 4 weekend.
The final question for the accomplished wrestler was, "So do you like traveling in the motor home more than a car?"
"I don't know," he said and he took his trophies back to his room
"He's was supposed to meet a girl at the pool during the interview," his mom said.
Mystery solved. The preoccupied sixth grader had better things to do than answer questions.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.