"I was fortunate enough to grow up and wrestle at the Maverick Club, Lee Bivins Elementary, and Austin Middle School," stated David Quirino, longtime wrestler and coach.
The panhandle has produced countless state champions, titles, and all-Americans. One of those including Olympic gold medalist Brandon Slay, who got his start from his dad.
"When I got to be six years old, he hoped that his boy would like the sport of wrestling so he took me downtown to the local Y.M.C.A. and so that was my first year as a six year old to get in the room on the wrestling mats with a bunch of kids," said former Tascosa High School wrestler Brandon Slay.
Quirino and Slay eventually became teammates at Tascosa High School under head coach Johnny Cobb.
"The real primary thing you're out to do is build some character in some kids and give them some opportunities that they would have never had before with this sport," long time wrestling coach Johnny Cobb said.
Randall wrestler Jacob Rubio continues to learn those lessons under Quirino at Randall. Rubio will be heading to the University of Oklahoma to wrestle and further the legacy.
"Division 1 you know is real tough to get in on academics and having wrestling behind me, has opened that door for me and been huge and its real exciting," said Jacob Rubio, Randall wrestler.
Last year a black cloud hung over the sport when it was eliminated from Olympic competition, which caused a stir in the community.
"I was devastated, I couldn't believe it, I was just in disbelief, looking around making sure I was awake," said Quirino.
"I thought it was a joke, this can't be happening, it was like a hurricane just came through and destroyed everything," said Rubio.
Thanks to nationwide support, wrestling was brought back to Olympic competition.
"One of the keys to the area is continuing to have vital and meaningful clubs, and looking back for us, that was the key for us," said Slay.
Former wrestlers coming back to coach in the area has made it possible for the legacy of Amarillo wrestling to never die.
"That's the most exciting part for me is watching where it started with the little kids to where it went, guys coming back from a college level now to come back and coach and successful coaches in the pandandle area," said Cobb.
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