Ethan Birch of Vacaville Wrestling Club wins national Greco-Roman title – The Vacaville Reporter
Broken leg? No problem.
Ethan Birch spent 14 weeks in a casting to open 2018 after breaking his shin on New Years Day when a group of young children innocently fell on his leg while jostling each other on the carpet.
Six months later, Birch is the Greco-Roman National Champion of USA Wrestling Kids. Birch (130 pounds) pinned her final opponent in Saturday’s Greco final held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA to become a U.S. National Greco wrestling champion for children ages 13 to 14 years old.
Birch also placed fifth in freestyle the next day with his father and Vacaville high school wrestling co-trainer Clint Birch cheering him on a few yards away.
The National Children’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships are the final event in USA Wrestling’s prestigious Triple Crown Children’s Wrestling Series. It’s a tournament that features some of the best wrestlers ages 13-14 in the country.
Ethan Birch worked his way through a slice of 18 athletes, with 16 of the kids coming from different states in the United States. He beat a highly touted wrestler from Texas in the quarterfinals on his way to the championship game.
âI guess the word would be ‘proud’,â Clint Birch said Monday. âEvery father / trainer understands how difficult it is to train his own son, especially once he starts to reach this level. But I am extremely proud of him. Seeing him win was special. For Ethan, he was successful and he was good, but the biggest success of the tournament eluded him. To see him win a national Greco title, I’m just really proud.
To enter the Greco Nationals, wrestlers had to finish at the top of their weight class in a regional tournament. USA Wrestling hosted six regional tournaments across the country in the spring. Birch qualified via the Las Vegas, NV regional in April, where he won first place in Greco and second in Freestyle just weeks after removing his cast.
The big difference between Greco and Freestyle Wrestling is that Greco style prohibits scoring below the waist (i.e. no leg attacks).
Besides his father, Bobby Ehman, Jordan Aquino, Armando Orozco, Kainoa Medina and Connor Shirar assisted Birch in his preparation for the national championships, each with ties to Vacaville High wrestling.
The idea of ââmaking it to the national championships in Georgia started as a challenge from Clint to Ethan after young Birch broke his leg. Before they knew it, the entire Birch family was boarding a plane to Atlanta.
âI was trying to motivate him (Ethan) after he broke his leg,â Clint Birch said. âAfter he broke his leg, he missed every January, February and March, so he missed all of his eighth grade state meets and Tournament of Champions matches that all college kids went to. So I was trying to give him something to pull off and cheer him up. I was like, ‘Hey, if you can do well enough, I’ll take you to Atlanta for the national tournament.’ I kind of rolled my eyes when I said it, but he started winning tournament after tournament and before we knew it the whole family was at the airport.
By winning a national Greco children’s title, Ethan Birch is recognized in the United States National Youth Wrestling Team. He also received an All-American certificate and a large medal described by Clint Birch as “odious” size.
âThere are very few frozen moments in wrestling,â said Clint Birch. “It’s so hard and you’ve been banging your head against the wall for so long.” Times like this are hard to go through in this sport, so when they happen, you have to savor them. ”
Isaac Padilla, a 77-pound wrestler from Vacaville Wrestling Club, who also qualified through the Western Regional in Las Vegas, joined the Birch family on the trip. Padilla went 0-2 in Greco wrestling but placed fourth in freestyle in Atlanta.
âI am proud of Isaac,â said Clint Birch. âEveryone on our team loves him and he’s one of our best young wrestlers. You are going to hear a lot of the name Padilla in the years to come because he is so good.
The next stop for the Vacaville Wrestling Club is the prestigious Fargo Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota. The tournament will start on July 12. The club will send three athletes: Logan Valledor (88 pounds), Kainoa Medina (106) and Chris Island (220).