East Kansas Wrestling Club has national champ in Phippen
Travis Phippen boasts an athletics resume that includes high school state championships and college All-American honors in wrestling.
After ending his wrestling career, he competed in Mixed Martial Arts and became a wrestling coach. In addition to helping coach at Basehor-Linwood High School, Phippen teamed with Eric Akin to launch the East Kansas Wrestling Club — one of the premier youth programs in Kansas, based out of St. James Academy. The club sent 15 athletes to the kids club state finals this year.
Phippen is proud of his wrestling accomplishments but said none compare to the joy that comes from watching his son Cody wrestle.
“It is awesome,” Travis said. “I was a high school state champ and a two-time All-American, but I get a lot more satisfaction watching him wrestle than I ever did myself.”
Like so many fathers and sons, the wrestling gene has been passed from Travis to Cody. It is tradition, lifestyle and passion that wrestlers know and understand.
The father and son share the bond of knowing what it is like to train long hours in preparation for a tournament.
They know the importance of putting in time in the wrestling room perfecting techniques and learning new moves. They know that being able to pull out a match-clinching move when you and the opponent are both tired is critical to winning.
Both understand success.
Cody, 12, made his mark on the national scene earlier this summer when he placed second in Greco-Roman and fifth in freestyle at the Freestyle and Greco National Tournament. He also won a national title in folkstyle and captured Kansas state championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman.
“Folkstyle is probably my best style because that is what I do the most,” Cody said.
Cody, who has wrestled regularly since he was 4 years old, has earned All-American status in 10 different tournaments. Travis credits Cody’s work ethic as a key reason for his success.
“Lots of cardio and lots of heart,” Travis said. “He doesn’t give up and always looks to finish. He is always trying to score points.”
Cody attributes a lot of his success to his father.
“He has coached me since I started,” Cody said. “It is hard going to wrestling tournaments without him, I get so used to him.”
Cody, who wrestles in the 65-pound weight class, continues to develop his skills. He has scored a lot this season with the front, head-pinch throw. It is one of the latest moves he has learned.
“He picks up a lot of new stuff,” Travis said. “Each year, he picks up a favorite move. He does a lot of fun stuff. He has a wide array of techniques.”
Cody says that he has learned a lot from his father.
Cody hopes this is just the start of his career. He hopes to wrestle at Basehor-Linwood High School and then go on to wrestle in college.
“It is just fun,” Cody said. “I am just addicted to it, one of those things where you can’t stop wrestling once you start.”