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Special Ed teen wrestling

A special needs wrestler gets first win beating a nearly undefeated opponent


By: RaeAnn Christensen, KUTV

LAYTON, Utah — (KUTV) - Emotions were running high at a junior high wrestling match in Utah as a special wrestler got his first win. The meet at Central Davis Junior High in Layton against West Point left the crowd in awe two weeks ago.

“I want to be champion all year,” Homer Bodily an 8th-grade wrestler at Central said. Homer is intellectually disabled, his brain won’t function past that of a 10-year-old.

“That's not holding him back,” his dad Lance Bodily said.

Homer’s coach said he never misses a practice and he tries hard to win.

Then there is Austin Bunton, “The thing I like the most about wrestling is it's the satisfaction of winning.” Winning is something he is pretty good at, he’s nearly undefeated.

Both Austin and Homer share a passion for being on the mat and just a few weeks ago met face to face at Central Davis. “The teams were pretty close,” said Bert Stanger West Point Junior High Wrestling Coach. It was the second to last match and the teams were tied. Noticing something special about Homer, Austin went to Coach Stanger and asked what to do, “I said it's your choice to make, you get to decide what you're going to do,” Coach Stanger said. “He smiled real big and he said okay. The smile on his face told me what was going to happen.”

“Homer is doing a lot of good things too, trying his best to do those basics,” said Sam Demonja, the Coach of Central Davis’ Wrestling team. Going all three rounds, Homer pinned Austin, “It was a really overwhelming event. It was really cool, both sides it was really cool, West point too, it was a really unifying thing,” Coach Demonja said.

“He wrestled hard and got his first win, that's what meant the most to me, is him winning,” Bunton said.

The crowd went crazy, “I don't think anyone was not cheering. As I looked up in the stands, both teams, both parents were in the stands cheering,” Coach Stanger said.

Homer's dad couldn't be prouder of both boys, “My son, that just brightened up his whole life, just that little act of kindness, thank you, I don't know what else to say, but thank you,” Lance said.

Both coaches have memories of a lifetime. Coach Demonja said Homer didn’t stop talking about it, “For days after, he said did you see me win, coach did you see me get it, did you see me win?”

“Still today, I can feel that same feeling in my heart and that's why I do this, it makes me feel good from time to time,” said Coach Stanger.

While records may show losses, “Austin he gave up something, some glory, for compassion to say hey he needs a chance to feel what it's like to win and to me Austin is a real champion,” Lance said.

Both won that day, “What was that like when you won? “Felt good,” said a very happy Homer.

Making it even better for Homer because he won the match he gets to compete in a tournament at Northridge High. Austin with a great record will also be competing. KUTV wishes both boys good luck.

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