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Wall Knights Wrestling Club

Wall Knights Wrestling Club

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26

Jul, 2017

Robert Kanniard is a Freestyle National Champ!

       Between Saturday July 15 and Tuesday July 18, Wall Township Wrestling’s social media sites were exploding with excitement regarding former Wall Knight Wrestling Club wrestler and current Wall High School Crimson Knight, Robert Kanniard’s trip to Fargo, North Dakota.   Robert had flown approx. 1500 miles to compete in perhaps the toughest High School Wrestling Tournament in the country held annually in the Fargodome at North Dakota State University.   The Fargodome has been the host of the prestigious Cadet Freestyle National Wrestling Tournament since the early 1990’s and every year the event attracts the most competitive freestyle wrestlers in the country to compete for the Plaque referred as the Stop Sign awarded to the national champions in each weight class.     
       Robert competed in a field of 64 wrestlers from all over the country in the cadet 160 lb. weight class, with each wrestler competing having the same aspirations of both winning the national title and having exposure to college wrestling scouts.      
        Robert’s accomplishments at Fargo started building steam with Facebook after he had won his quarterfinal match leaving the Wall Wrestling Community anxiously awaiting updates in his semi-final and finals matches.   Robert won the tournament in convincing fashion with a win by technical fall in the finals against one of the favorites to win the tournament.      
        How impressive and difficult an accomplishment is winning the Cadet national Freestyle Tournament?   In the history of the Shore Conference which has historically been a hot bed for NJ Wrestling talent, only 3 other wrestlers have won the Cadet Freestyle National Title:  Bill Dykeman was a three time Division 1 All American who wrestled for Brick Township High School in the late 1970‘s,  Damion Hahn was a 2 time Division 1 National Champ, 4 Time Division 1 All American, and 3 time NJ State Champ who wrestled for Lakewood High School in the late 1990’s, and Tyler Fraley who is a 2 time NAIA All American for Williams Baptist College who wrestled for Colts Neck High School in the early 2010’s.  That’s pretty impressive company for Robert to be in, now entering his Junior Year at Wall Township High School.       
        To date this would be regarded as Robert’s greatest achievement in wrestling but in his High School career he has already compiled an impressive list of accomplishments.   Some of Robert’s most notable accomplishments to date include two District Titles in the 145 lb. weight class in 2016 and the 152 lb. weight class in 2017.  His most recent District Championship preceeded a Region Title and a 4th  place finish at the NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament this past march.       
        I had the chance to talk to Robert and ask him some questions related to his success.  What I had learned is that Robert started the sport relatively late for someone that has experienced as much success as he has to date.  Robert had wrestled for a year with the Wall Knights Wrestling Club when he was younger but he didn’t focus on wrestling until his sixth grade year when he had joined the Wall Intermediate School Wrestling team while he simultaneously competed on the Wall Knights Wrestling Club’s travel team throughout his middle school years.  Robert has also trained for the past six seasons at Triumph Wrestling Club run by former Wall High School Wrestler, Nick Roy.“Nick is a great coach” Robert said of the Two time Wall High School State Champion, three time state place-winner, and Michigan University All American.   “In the offseason I train at Triumph 3 days a week and I train at the gym three days a week” Robert stated.       
        I had asked Robert what it meant to be able to win a national title and come back to a community where he received so much support and he responded, “It felt great to be able to win out at Fargo because I felt like I was able to put Wall wrestling on the map”.  I continued my interview by asking Robert what advice he would give to young wrestlers starting out in the sport.  Robert simply stated “Keep training hard, never give up, and the hard work will pay off”.   Robert also wished to thank his mother, Lisa Kanniard, and his father, Chris Kanniard for pushing him and keeping him motivated.   “I think that my parents being supportive and pushing me helped me to focus and work hard towards achieving my goals.”    
         Robert has become one of the most recognized names in Shore Conference Wrestling.   I had asked him what it means to be looked up to by the young wrestlers in the Wall Knights Wrestling Club.  “It’s a great feeling that young wrestlers would look up to me, and I hope that they can make my work ethic their own and never give up.”   I concluded the interview with one final question and it was also a favor by asking him if he would come in and work with the Wall Knights Wrestling Club this upcoming season.  “I was definitely planning on doing that this season” was his response.       
       Great to hear that the Wall Knights Wrestling Club will have a Freestyle National Champ coming in the room to help us out in 2017!

Coach Frank Kuhl
7/25/2017   
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