(Written by Tracy Pecore – Editor, Hocak Worak)
Third grade student at Birnamwood elementary, Maurice Bigjohn (Ho-Chunk Nation), had one of his dreams come true at only age 9. On March 23-25, he competed at the State Wrestling Tournament in Madison, WI at the Alliant Energy Center. Maurice’s future dreams are to be in the Marines and become an FBI Agent.
Maurice is the son to Amber Renee Bigjohn. His grandparents are Melanie and Corwin Roth of Wittenberg, and his great-grandparents are the late Maurice Bigjohn (whom he’s named after) and Dolli Bigjohn of Wittenberg as well.
Three years ago, when Maurice was in Kindergarten, a sign-up sheet came home for all those interested in learning the sport of wrestling. Of course this energetic 5 year old, Maurice, was super excited and immediately wanted to be involved. But, due to having Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.), his gaga told him to concentrate on school and said if he stayed focused and did well then he could join in second grade. Of course he moved onto first grade and once again that slip came home and he was anxious to begin wrestling. In 2010 Maurice was in second grade and he was able to join the wrestling team, just as his gaga had promised. Having only a full year of training under his belt, he has only progressed since then.
As a beginner and a second grader, Maurice did an awesome job. He hadn’t lost a match and his record was close to 19-0. There was finally a time when he met his match and lost. Like any other young boy, he took it very hard, was disappointed in himself and said, “I’m never gonna wrestle again!”…and stomped away.
At first, it was like the end of the world for Maurice if he lost but now as a third grader he realizes he still did good and tried his hardest. As a 9 year old, he is very sympathetic to those he beats and tries to cheer them up afterward and make them feel better. Maurice has a very loving family and they are all so proud of his accomplishments. His mom said, “I’m really proud of him, how hard he works; he gives it his all and pushes himself. He’s setting a nice example for other native kids and it keeps him out of trouble.”
After a long practice he’ll rush home to tell his choka about another move he learned and always tries to impress his coach at each practice. He insists that his gaga and choka ask the coach how he did and as soon as the coach says he worked really hard, Maurice will start smiling from ear to ear just hearing the excitement from his coach. After three or four tournaments and several wins, coach Dwayne Potrykus, said, “I think I’m going to have to put Maurice on the A-Team.”
One of Maurice’s favorite moves is the Cow Catcher. When he went to the Merrill regionals the coach stressed not to use that move all of the time and he should try other moves. Last year was his first time to Regionals and he came in third. In order to go to state, the wrestler must come in first or second place. Although he was bummed out, it only made him pursue his dream and work harder this year. He said to his mom, “I wanna go to State this year,” and he did.
So at Merrill Regionals, it was down to his last match and it was either he loses or wins and goes to State. As his opponent was getting ready, his choka said to him, “Get down and give me 10.” So down he went, he pushed out 10 quick push-ups, and he was pumped and ready to go. The other kid was looking at him all crazy but Maurice won that match and off to State he went, coming in second at Merrill.
As Maurice weighed-in Friday night (in the 64-66 pound weight class) at the state tournament, they watched a few matches, and his choka said to him, “Look grandson, that’s where all the gladiators are gonna wrestle.” Maurice was really impressed and excited, his dream was coming true.
Maurice was off to a great start and won his first two matches. The next two he lost but he got upset after the first loss because he thought he was done. The first match he lost was to a boy that had only lost once all season and the final score was 7-6. After a few inspiring words from his supporters, they told him not to feel down on himself and that he did a good job and fought hard all the way. Maurice won his last match putting him in fifth place at the state tournament.
Maurice is very competitive, likes the challenge, and loves sports and is an athlete year round from wrestling, to baseball, to football, to starting it all over the next season. His grandparents are very supportive and have fun travelling and attending all of his events. Maurice said he didn’t want to play football this year because he didn’t want to hurt himself prior to the wrestling season (but since then he’s changed his mind to play).
Great job Maurice; Keep working hard and good luck on your future dreams!
(Story provided to us by the Hocak Worak, Ho-Chunk News. Original story can be seen at http://hocakworak.com)