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Maturity is not measured by age. I mean sure, we expect that as people get older maturity comes with it. And many of us would say we are more mature as adults than we were as kids. I’d say it for myself. I expect you’d say it for yourself as well. But there’s also those kids we can remember growing up with who just seemed “mature beyond their years.” This isn’t a thesis about what that phrase means or anything, it is a concept at the heart of this story. Landon’s story.
A story that we pick up now but that he’s been writing for years. It’s about attitude. It’s about experience. And while Landon may only be a freshman in high school this year, the opportunities he’s had to wrestle on some of the countries biggest stages has afforded him some invaluable experience. Turning him into one mature competitor.
Landon began wrestling at 5 primarily because his dad and other close relatives competed in their youth. But around here that’s really just what you do. I remember learning in Wedding Crashers from Bradley Cooper that Maryland does crab cakes and football. Well, Bradley, the WPIAL does pierogies and wrestlin. That often means early struggles on the mat, and for Landon it wasn’t much different, “My dad coached me when I first started. I was decent. But I really didn’t start having a ton of success until middle school.”
Success that can be attributed to Landon’s work ethic. Cliches are cliches because they are usually true. And there’s one many of us in this sport know quite well, that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. But what happens when you get talent and still work hard? You get rarified air. The kind that legends get to breathe while us mere mortals cheer them on, and it could very well be those are the heights Landon is headed to.
But even hard work isn’t enough. Practice makes perfect, but you perform how you practice. So really it’s perfect practice that makes perfect. And you get more perfect practices, more iron-sharpening training, from partners with your same outlook on the sport, and Landon’s outlook is as mature as you’ll find in an incoming high schooler. So where has he honed his approach to the sport that has him ranked among the nation’s top 5 at 113, “I primarily went to Hutchy’s Hammers, which is a club that my dad started. I also went to Young Guns with Jody Strittmatter.”
He also speaks highly of the Norwin program for whom he’ll be looking to wreak havoc on the PIAA for 4 years. “Coach Kyle Martin has so much knowledge that he passes on to us as a team.” Knowledge that has been given a turboboost of sorts through the Knights RTC, which allows Sidun to train a lot more freestyle. And it’s not just Coach Martin but 2009 NCAA champion Jarrod King gives the program a great foundation to build future success on. Success that comes from testing yourself against the best. Enter Super 32.
To say that Landon Sidun has had a great middle school career would be a massive understatement. He’s a two-time Super 32 medalist, taking 4th and then 1st. He followed that up with a PA Jr High state title. And as he gears up for 2023-2024, he’s fresh off a Fargo Cadet title setting his sights on Greensboro, NC for what would would be his first Super 32 belt at the high school level. I don’t know how much you follow the NFL, but when Aaron Rodgers signed with the Jets he said their one Super Bowl trophy looked lonely. Perhaps that’s how the belt he won last year is feeling in the trophy case?
So this weekend, Landon will be in the 113 field. A field that features world champions, state champions, and just overall lower weight hammers. But he’s one in his own right. Just as much as he’ll have a ton of obstacles to navigate through the bracket, they’ll have him as a similar obstacle as well.
He comes in ranked #5 in the country by us and has a chance to even improve on that. And he’s not the type to shy away from great competition, to protect a record or ranking. He wants it. Wants the challenge. And he’ll find it here. Paul Kenny, #1 in the country and a 2023 world champion. Dom Munaretto, a world champion and Illinois state champion ranked 4th in the country. Aaron Seidel, a fellow Keystone State wrestler who has gone 2 for 2 in state titles to start his career and comes in with a 4 by his name. #7 Davis Moytka from Wyoming Seminary, #9 Dru Ayala of Fort Dodge, IA, and #10 JoJo Uhorchuk of Signal Mountain, TN round out the top 10 wrestlers in this bracket. Talk about loaded.
So that outlook and mature mindset are the weapons Landon will rely on to reach those famed Super 32 finals – in front of the rabid crowd that sits mat side.
“My goal is not to think about the match. It’s to go out and score as much and as fast as I can. That’s the mindset. If I keep doing that, the wins will come.”
Being from Western PA, having experience at national tournaments in the past, Sidun is prepared for the biggest of stages. The bigger the better. And he gets the biggest folkstyle challenge of the year this weekend. But this Young Gun will be ready.
“Never let an opponent or a particular situation overwhelm you, remain calm and trust in what you’ve trained to do.”
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Based in Western PA. Right in the heart of WPIAL country, Todd brings an insider’s view from the country’s epicenter of wrestling. He’s excited to build on the TKDWN tradition of starting with the story first. The athletes, the coaches, their families and supporters, there is no shortage of stories to tell. And Todd will bring his unique perspective to help us continue to deliver top notch content for the world’s greatest sport!