The sport of wrestling is something Quentin Saunders is passionate about.
The 14-year-old freshman at Wichita West High School has worked to perfect his craft on the mat for the past five years.
Sunday morning when most people would be asleep, Saunders is training at the gym inside Dellrose United Methodist Church.
“One day it’s easy, the next day it is hard, it just keeps going harder and harder,” said Saunders.
Saunders has become a decorated wrestler, winning award after award.
“Most of them is nationals, some of the little ones, easy tournaments, but, I take all my tournaments as practice until I get to the top,” said Saunders.
Part of his journey to the top has taken Saunders to places as far away as Chile. That’s where he competed in the Pan American Championship in wrestling last year.
He competed in the freestyle and greco-roman events, winning both.
Saunders was awarded the key to the city here in Wichita for his accolades.
Now, his sights are once again set high, as he’s training for this years championships in Mexico in two weeks.
Saunders spoke about what he’s looking forward to this time around.
“More, tougher people that’s going to be there, last year it wasn’t that tough, but I didn’t take it as practice, I took it as a job,” said Saunders.
All along the way, Saunders has had his coach, Charles Knox there to tutor him on the ins and outs of the sport.
“Here comes this kid that was like a sponge, you know, you’d tell him something and he’d just be sitting there soaking it in,” said Knox. “The very first national tournament we took him to, he come back with two national championships,” added Knox.
Which why Knox is confident his protégé can continue to succeed at the highest level.
“Sky’s the limit, I’ve told him that, the sky’s the limit if he puts in the work, hard work pays off,” said Knox.
As for Saunders, he’s hopeful competing in the Pan American Championships can prove to be a stepping stone to the Olympics one day.
“I just want to take first in everything, I don’t want to lose, I just want to win in life,” said Saunders.
Saunders with leave for Villahermosa, Mexico on September 11th,
The Pan American Championships run from September 13th through the 15th.