Manheim Township wrestlers Kaedyn and Kamdyn Williams learn from rare losses
When Kaedyn Williams landed in Budapest for the Cadet Greco-Roman Wrestling World Championships, the unknown hit him.
He’s already a decorated wrestler, including a 106-pound state title in freshman, but the world championships have felt different. The tournament was bigger, Williams thought, the better wrestlers and the surroundings unclear as he set out to represent his country and win a title.
What Williams discovered from his qualifying victory over Iranian Abolfazl Ahmad Shahrakiniya and even a second-round loss to Kuvonchbek Yakhshiboev of Uzbekistan is that international wrestling was still wrestling. Williams struggled with nerves and doubts and didn’t get the end result he wanted, but walked away from his biggest tournament knowing he belonged to that scene.
“I was nervous to go there because I’ve never wrestled guys overseas,” Williams said. “It was my first time there. I didn’t know what to expect. I learned to have more confidence in myself. I was nervous going in. Honestly, they weren’t as good as I thought they would be.
Williams found himself in a 5-0 hole against Yakhshiboev, but believed he fought for a four-point move in the second period that would have brought him straight back into the game. Instead, officials didn’t allow any points for the rally and, in fact, Yakhshiboev added to his lead with one point for a push-out on his way to an 8-0 victory.
Williams then found himself in the awkward position of needing to cheer on Yakhshiboev to win and bring him back to the consolation console, which he did not do. During a brief exchange, Williams may have gone from picking up speed to an abrupt end to his tournament.
“It was weird having to root for someone who just beat me,” he said. “I don’t want to do this. I had to rely on this kid to lead me to a medal game. It was strange. “
Days earlier, Kaedyn’s twin brother Kamdyn finished in the top four in freestyle and Greco-Roman at the 16U American National Wrestling Championships. He said he suffered from an illness, but still managed to place fourth in freestyle and second in greco.
Williams lost to eventual National Champion Kyler Larkin of Arizona in the 126-pound freestyle quarterfinals, then struggled for the third-place game for the first of two All-Pennsylvania faceoffs with Mason Gibson, another great sophomore from Bishop McCort.
In the freestyle consolation finals, Williams took a 4-0 lead early in the first period only for Gibson to come back and win in the fall. And in the Greco-Roman title match, Williams led 9-0 in Game 1 before Gibson rallied with 12 unanswered points to claim a 12-9 victory and a 126-pound title.
“These games have been really important to me in helping me see what I need to work on and how I need to grow,” said Williams. “I will often see Mason over the next few years.
These clashes will likely have to happen outside the realm of the PIAA or in early season tournaments with Gibson wrestling in the ranks of Class 2A and Williams in Class 3A.
Gibson is a nationally ranked contender who won PIAA silver at 120 pounds last season, while Williams was one of the top contenders in Class 3A before running out of weight at the state tournament.
The lessons Williams taught Fargo were invaluable and should make him a better wrestler, but they are still pale in comparison to the growth imposed on him at Hershey.
Williams entered the final round of the playoffs as the favorite for gold after a series of impressive performances at regional and super regional. But he said the battle to control his weight was getting harder and harder as the season wore on and he was going through a growth spurt.
Williams said he miscalculated how much he could lose coming out of the Super Regional Round and was too heavy to participate.
“I kind of let him beat me up a bit, but I put him in the past,” Williams said. “It humbled me a bit, but I’m going to come back to it and prove that I can be that guy.”
There is no doubt that Kaedyn and Kamdyn Williams can be “that guy”.
They’ve already proven that as two of the nation’s most talented freshmen last season. The offseason gave them major triumphs – Kamdyn’s two All-America finishes and Kaedyn’s place in the United States Cadet World squad – but also new reminders of where they are and what they are. need to improve.
The idea that the two Williams twins will come back better in sophomore could be a very real and very scary proposition for the rest of Pennsylvania.