SPRINGVILLE — Bearing trophies as tall as the kids, a family welcomed home three state wrestling titles, including one for their oldest daughter.
Quenton, Sage and Talmage Mortimer all won the Utah Youth Super State wrestling championship in their divisions last weekend in Heber. The family is the first to have two sons and one daughter win this championship.
They are used to competing: all four of their kids compete in rodeo, Sage plays soccer, 7-year-old Emeri just started gymnastics, in addition to the three who wrestle.
Their father, Spencer Mortimer, wrestled in high school and has since coached wrestling. He currently coaches at Champions Wrestling Club in Mapleton.
Quenton, now 12-years-old, began the sport when he was just 4.
After watching her brother compete and practice for a few years, Sage, 10, decided wrestling was for her. She started just last year.
"I kind of thought she would get slammed around and change her mind, but she went out there and she was beating boys who had been wrestling for a lot of years," said her mother, Shanille Mortimer. "She just really took to it, she's a natural. She's really aggressive and feisty. She knows what she wants."
Utahns react to IOC's decision
By Jed Boal
Mark Fuller, of Orem, was the first American to make four Olympic wrestling teams. He says he thought it was a joke when someone first told him about the decision.
"The ultimate level to compete in minor sports is the Olympic Games," he said. "That will be taken away from a group of athletes."
Former Olympians aren't happy about it, and aspiring Olympic grapplers are disappointed, too.
Wrestling is one of the world's oldest sports, and an original sport in the Olympics in 1896. Supporters says they're not ready to throw in the towel.
Fuller was the first American to make four Olympic wrestling teams. He took his Olympic sweat suits and parade gear out of storage to show KSL.
"Disappointment in dreams for young people: that was my first reflection," he said.
Fuller said wrestling help steer him away from trouble when he was a kid growing up in California. As he persevered, he won gold and silver in the Pan Am Games.
In all, 180 countries wrestled in the London Olympics. Fuller said it's a sport that offers inspiration to those who are determined. He said the outcry in Europe and Asia is greater than it is in the United States. It's a sport that appeals to both genders, and does not require a expensive equipment or settings.
Most of all, Fuller said Olympic wrestling gives athletes a goal, and a dream.
"Maybe I can be good at this some day. If I'm willing to work hard, and apply myself on a daily basis, maybe I could be good at it," he said. That was his experience as a youth.
"I think that's what the dream is for youth, to have something to aspire to."
The IOC will take a formal vote on it in May. Fuller hopes that world-wide opposition and movements online will keep the sport in the Olympics. But he knows it will be a tough battle.
Sage also plays as a forward for her soccer team and rides spurs in the rodeo.
"She's never been a girly girl. She never wanted to do dance or play with dolls or anything like that. She just wants to do fun, hard stuff. And she's good at it," Shanille said. "She's always been really independent and self-motivated."
The fourth-grader was only one of four girls in the tournament. At only 50 pounds, she's also the smallest wrestler in her division. She beat the first two boys she wrestled. When she came to the third match, Shanille got nervous.
"(He) beat her last year in freestyle state. He beat her by one point, so he was the one we were most worried about her beating. The match went into overtime and she ended up winning it in overtime. It was really exciting."
That win put her into finals, and from there, she won her division's championship.
Quenton was the last of the three kids to wrestle, winning his matches not only by point, but by pinning his opponents.
"It's pretty cool to pin every single kid you come up against," Shanille said.
Those wins put him in the finals, where he faced a boy who had beat Quenton last year.
"We didn't know how that one would go either. We were a little nervous. But he went out there and pinned that kid too," Shanille said.
Talmage, 5, started wrestling at age 4, like his brother. Shanille said he has a lot of mentors at their club, and he's become a better wrestler for it.
"He's around wrestlers all day long and he really looks up to all of them," Shanille said. "He sees all these big boys doing it and they all really like him and they give him a lot of attention, and I think that makes him better at it to have all these other boys to look up to."
Talmage, a lightweight at 35 pounds, is the smallest in his division. He wrestled Friday night. He was a little nervous before the match, Shanille said, but he used his skills to make his way to the top.
Besides three trophies though, Shanille said the family has gained a lot from the sport. They have made dear friends, learned a lot of skills and, perhaps most importantly, her kids have grown individually because of the sport.
"(They've learned) dedication. They go to practice every single day and they're totally dedicated to it," Shanille said. "They work really hard. They learn to overcome obstacles. If they're not doing their best, they figure out how to do their best. You don't have anyone to rely on but yourself."