Newtown, Conn. wrestler Jack Wellman named SportKid of the Year by Sports Illustrated

Dec. 06, 2013, 2:49 p.m. (ET)

Photo of Jack Wellman helping coach youth wrestling in Newtown, Conn. by Heinz Kluetmeier for Sports Illustrated

Is that one of the kids?

No, he’s a little big for the elementary school wrestling team. But only a little. Clearly he’s a coach, though, because between drills he’s tying shoes, adjusting headgear, making sure each kid’s ready position really is a ready position. He’s 14 years old, and his name is Jack Wellman.

It’s warm-up, and the kids are working their way across the mat, dipping low and darting forward, developing the explosiveness in their legs that they’ll need during matches. There’s a straggler. Jack is on his knees next to him, getting on eye level with a 6-year-old, demonstrating the technique again. The rest of the team is already onto the next drill.

The last of Jack’s baby fat hasn’t quite melted off. His face is so young, and throughout the bulk of the 90-minute practice session he wears a smile that’s bigger than ear-to-ear, more like temple-to-temple. It never fades. He’s having more fun than anyone else on the mat.

The middle school team comes in at 6:30, so the elementary kids need to wrap things up. Curtis Urbina, the head coach, blows the whistle.

Click below to read the rest of this amazing article from Sports Illustrated for Kids, which features numerous videos and photos

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