Wrestlers Go After Championship

Thursday, January 24th 2008, 11:30 pm
By: News On 6

A team of Oklahoma wrestlers is on their way to Wisconsin hoping to bring home a conference championship.  But, this isn't your everyday wrestling team.  These athletes go to a special school because they have impairment.  News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports they're using their disadvantage to their advantage and making Oklahoma proud.

Stephen Kearney has coached hundreds of young wrestlers over the last 37 years.  All of them have been at Parkview School in Muskogee.

"It's a challenge and I have a lot of fun with these kids," said Stephen Kearney.

This year Coach Kearney says he has a particularly good team.

"I got four championships this year," added Stephen Kearney.

The team has worked hard all season, preparing for their two biggest tournaments.  One was last weekend.  One is this weekend.

And, their hard work is paying off.  The team won a second place trophy last weekend. This weekend, they're hoping to win a bigger one.

"We basically put all of our emphasis on wrestling and we're pretty good at it," said Stephen Kearney.

Wrestling is actually the only sport Parkview school offers.  It's the only sport because Coach Kearney says it would be difficult for these guys to play anything else.

"This is actually, this is a natural for blind kids," said Coach Kearney.

The wrestlers are all legally blind.  Parkview is the Oklahoma School for the Blind.

"We're just like anybody else. The only difference that we do is we have to have touch. We've got to be in contact with our wrestler at all times. Once that touch is broke then they stop the match and restart again," said Coach Stephen Kearney.

And, don't tell the wrestlers they're at a disadvantage.  When these guys are on the mat, they're like any other wrestler from any other school.

The wrestlers all have varying degrees of visual impairment.  Many of them can see, but they just can't see well.  This weekend the team is competing against twelve other state schools for the blind.