Wichita West High School freshman Quentin Saunders will tell you himself, football is his favorite sport.
However, the sport of wrestling is one he’s racked up a long list of awards, even at just 15-years old.
Last fall, he traveled to Mexico to take part in the Pan American Under-15 Wrestling Championships. He’d win gold in both events, just like he had done the year before at the championships in Chile.
This weekend, Saunders was vying to add a state wrestling title to his name.
He said he came into the KSHSAA 6A/5A State Wrestling Tournament with a little extra motivation.
“”The week before state I lost my first match and that’s what made me go harder and come back stronger,” said Saunders.
That loss, coming against Derby’s Cade Lindse, who is committed to Oklahoma State next fall.
Lindsey would be one of the opponents Saunders would beat on his way to his final match for the 6A state title in the 170 pound class.
It was a match against Manhattan’s Quincy Saddler and one Saunders says he was confident he would win.
“When the whistle blew, I could see in his eyes that he was nervous, and when people are nervous, it kind of gets to them,” said Saunders.
At the top of the podium, crowned a state champion as a Freshman, it capped off what has been a difficult start to the year for Saunders.
Last month, his 96-year old great grandmother, Marie Martin passed away.
“To see that she couldn’t be there to watch me, to witness me win the championship, so I won it for her,” said Saunders. “The bracket, the medal, it’s all about to go in her room,” he added.
As for the feeling and joy of winning a state title, Saunders is going to enjoy it for a while.
“Right now, this is like the world championship for me,” said Saunders.
Saunders says he’ll be taking a break from the mat for a while to concentrate on track and field this Spring.