By Amber Swann, Special to Cap City News
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Robert Urquides Swann, 9, of Cheyenne, felt the pressure after being a two-time state champion in his home state.
This year, he knew defending that title would take work, so Robert, his brother Brody and his parents decided to head across the state line to train in Greeley, Colorado, at Top Notch Sports Academy. When they couldn’t brave the snowy roads, they had the help of their wrestling community in their own backyard — CWC Thunder, Team Braves and Gladiator Wrestling Club.
“I want to continue to do this sport because of my coaches and I want to continue to get better so I can one day be a wrestler at UNC and do what my coach does,” Robert said.
Brody trained alongside him knowing that learning all the techniques would be hard. He overcame his obstacles and placed fourth at this year’s WAWA Cadet State.
Robert placed first, becoming a three-time Wyoming State Folkstyle champion.
Coach Andrew “Boo” Alirez, NCAA 141 Champion, and his dad Andrew Alirez Sr. took the two young men in and developed a new style for the two wrestlers.
“My goal is to establish a family-like feel with all my wrestlers. I want them to feel at home in the practice room and have trust. If you trust in your coaches and the program, I have witnessed firsthand you will succeed,” Coach Alirez said. “Robert, Brody and I have had no issues building a strong relationship. We laugh, we joke and I just try to set the standard to where they start to believe they can also achieve great things on and off the mat.”
Alirez said Robert has a natural feel for wrestling, and he believes “the sky is the limit” as he learns various techniques. Brody is developing quickly, is smart and open to learning techniques, all of which are “the best qualities a kid can have,” he said.