Ryan Ringler, age 11, son of Paul and Jane Ringler of Cedar Springs, has learned from a early age what it takes to be a champion. When many kids are enjoying video games and watching TV after school, Ryan and his brother Jordan are on a wrestling mat. The Ringler boys began wrestling as early as their preschool days. Over these years, the boys have become accustom to starting the season in November and practicing most days of the week for half of the year. This commitment and determination leads them to the annual spring state finals and also the national tournament for youth wrestling—the two largest and most meaningful competitions for every wrestler.
All the time, effort and hard work paid off just two weeks ago, when Ryan accomplished his goal by taking state champion, for the third time, for Michigan. He pinned every opponent. And this past week, he attended the national competition and was awarded the National Champion title for the 100-pound weight class. This was Ryan’s first individual national title. Only the top four wrestlers in each state could participate in this prestigious competition.
Ryan is no stranger to a national championship. This past winter, he tried out and was accepted on to the elite, (MyWay) Michigan, travel team. They battled against several elite, out of state teams. At the end of these duals, Michigan conquered and took home the champion title. Ryan had contributed to this national victory, as he pulled out a win every time he took the mat.
When asked about the state and national tournaments, Ryan never questioned if he could do it. He believed in himself and this was his year. He prepared and worked out, even on those days he didn’t feel like exerting himself. Given the tough, frustrating, contact sport that wrestling is, and the practice time that it takes to be successful, Ryan showed commitment, respect for his fellow wrestlers and for the officials. He continually presented a good attitude and sportsmanship. That is what his family is truly proud of.
Ryan’s older brother Jordan also made the national team. Both boys will continue to travel with these teams this summer. Jordan placed 3rd at the state finals and should be given much credit for Ryan’s success, due to the motivation and help given to his younger brother all year.