Kylan Berry may only be 8 years old but the second-grader from Hollis already has built an impressive wrestling resume.

Last Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Berry added another achievement, winning the Bantam 40-pound title at the Ohio Tournament of Champions.

“It’s the premier folkstyle youth nationals in the country,” said Shawn St. Cyr, the co-coach of Berry’s club team, the Maine Trappers.

Kylan also wrestles during the school season with the Bonny Eagle youth program run by Dan Rose.

St. Cyr and Rose believe Berry is the second wrestler from Maine to win a title at the Ohio Tournament of Champions, joining a two-time winner, Jake Craig, 14, of Skowhegan.

Berry, who attends Edna Libby School in Standish, has wrestled since he was 4. He went 4-0 to win a 16-wrestler bracket for children born in 2009 or later. The tournament, which included high school-age wrestlers and even an open class for adults, drew an estimated 3,000 wrestlers.

“He begged to go last year and we said no, we’re not going to take him to Ohio,” said Erica Berry, Kylan’s mother. “This year he begged us again. We weren’t going to take him but he had a friend that was going so the two dads took them.”

“I wanted to see if I could win or not and it would still be good practice for me,” Kylan Berry said. “It was probably the toughest tournament I’ve been to.”

The fathers, Sean Berry and Dom Cofone of Westbrook, handled the driving and logistics. Cofone acted as the coach during matches for Kylan and his own son, Ayden Cofone, 10, who won three matches but did not place in the Midget (born in 2007 and 2008) 60-pound division, which had over 40 wrestlers.

Wrestlers must qualify for the Ohio Tournament of Champions. Kylan qualified by placing in the top six at the Marshwood New England Youth Classic. He won that event for the third time.

Berry trains twice a week with the Trappers, a K-12 club that runs practices in Westbrook and Bath. He also likes to play football and some baseball but wrestling is his favorite activity.

Kylan often travels out of state for tournaments in search of ever-tougher competition, a growing trend among Maine’s youth wrestlers, said St. Cyr.

Last summer, Kylan, his older brother Seamus (a third-grader) and fourth-grader Adam St. Cyr represented the Trappers and earned All-America (top eight) honors at the USA Wrestling Kids Freestyle & Greco-Roman, held in Wisconsin. Kylan Berry and Adam St. Cyr placed in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the styles of wrestling contested in the Olympics and internationally. Folkstyle is used in high school competitions.

“I like doing freestyle the best,” Kylan said.

Shawn St. Cyr, who is Adam’s father and the Lincoln Academy wrestling coach, said he hopes to take 10 or more Trapper wrestlers to this year’s USA Kids Nationals, which will be held June 29-30 in Atlanta.

Usually in state and regional tournaments, Kylan ends up wrestling opponents who outweigh him by 10 or more pounds because there aren’t enough wrestlers his size, Rose said.

“He is superbly talented,” Rose said. “He has just the right amount of aggression and competitive skills. He does not like to lose but he is a great sport. When he loses, which isn’t very often, he shakes hands with his opponent, the other coaches, the ref, and then he gets off the mat and right away he’s ready to go again.”

“That’s another thing that makes him such a strong wrestler,” St. Cyr agreed. “He’s so used to wrestling kids that are heavier than him, he has to have really good technique.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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