CLARKS SUMMIT — Brothers Jake and Matt Dailey have both reached the highest level of Pennsylvania youth wrestling.
Next, the Clarks Summit residents will try to make an impact on an ever bigger stage when they compete in the 2016 ASICS Kids Freestyle and Greco National Championships in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, July 7-8.
Jake, 10, placed first in the 75-pound novice division at the Pennsylvania Wrestling Federation (PAWF) Greco-Roman tournament and third in the 75-pound novice division of the Freestyle tournament, May 20-22, in Chambersburg.
“I was excited,” Jake said of winning the state championship. “I had to stay focused and use the moves that worked for me.”
He also placed third in the 78-pound junior division at the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association (MAWA) Eastern National Championships, May 7-8, in Salisbury, Maryland.
Matt, 7, finished first in the 50-pound bantam division at the PAWF Grec0-Roman tournament and third in the 50-pound bantam division of the freestyle tournament.
Before they board a bus with the other athletes who will represent Pennsylvania at the national championships in Wisconsin, the Daileys will take part in a three-day intensive training camp at Clarion University.
Jake and Matt train with the Xcalibur Wrestling Club, based out of Wyoming Seminary, four days a week.
“The coaches make us train hard and teach us moves,” Jake said. “We have to do everything perfect before we can move on.”
Jake added the training consists of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and running.
Wrestling is a family tradition in the Dailey household.
Jake began wrestling five years ago and has been pleased with his improvement in the sport.
“My dad asked me if I wanted to wrestle because he had in the past,” Jake said. “I decided to start and I’ve gotten better along the way.”
After watching his brother enjoy wrestling, Matt also wanted to give it a try.
“Even before he could wrestle, Matt would come to practices and wear the gear,” Jake said.
In the fall, Jake will start fifth grade at Abington Heights Middle School while Matt will begin second grade at Waverly Elementary School.
The Daileys are also members of the Abington Junior Comets and believe playing football has helped them become better wrestlers.
“In football, you’re moving your legs a lot and it helps build strength,” Jake said. “Driving into your opponent in wrestling is similar to a football tackle.”
Matt thinks getting hit in football helped calm his fears on the wrestling mat.
“I don’t feel worried anymore,” he said.
Jake aspires to wrestle in college at Cornell University while Matt has his sights set on wrestling for Penn State University in the future.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.