Hayden Zillmer is in some pretty good company.
The 15-year-old freshman from Crosby won the folkstyle, greco and freestyle cadet national wrestling championships, becoming just the third wrestler to win the triple crown.
Zillmer joins Wabasha-Kellogg's Zach Sanders, who also won five high school state wrestling titles, and Missouri's Taylor Moore as the only triple crown winners.
In April, Zillmer won the folkstyle national title at the national tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He then added the greco and freestyle championships at the USA National Cadet Wrestling tournament July 20-26 in Fargo, N.D.
Crosby's Hayden Zillmer wrestled an opponent during the USA National Cadet Wrestling championships July 20-26 in Fargo, N.D. Zillmer became just the third wrestler to ever win the triple crown of wrestling, winning national titles in folkstyle, greco and freestyle.
"I didn't really expect something like this to happen at the beginning of the year," said Zillmer. "But after I won the folkstyle championship then I thought I could win the other two championships."
Zillmer had a little trouble in the greco title match. He lost the first period to Montana's Jade Rauser 4-0 but came back and won the last two periods 5-0 and 3-0 to take the title.
"The first 30 seconds I got thrown for three points and that was pretty much the match at first," Zillmer said. "I didn't score in the next 30 seconds and he was up 4-0. In the second period I got in on him and turned him a couple of times and won that period 5-0. In the third period nobody scored in the first minute and so I had turn him to win and did that and won the match.
"I wasn't even thinking about the triple crown until I got off the mat and then I was just like, 'Whoa.' I never realized that only three people had won the triple crown."
Hayden Zillmer, Crosby wrestler
Accomplishment: Zillmer became just the third wrestler to ever win a USA Wrestling triple crown when he won national championships in folkstyle, greco and freestyle.
SPOTTED: » Hayden Zillmer wrestles for Triple Crown 11 Photos!
"I expected it was going to be a close match because the kid I wrestled tech falled everyone on his side."
Zillmer squared off against Rauser again in the freestyle title match but this time had an easier time winning the championship. The biggest thing Zillmer dealt with was the pressure before the freestyle match and all the talk about the triple crown.
"I teched almost everybody on my side and then beat a kid 2-0 and 2-1," Zillmer of the freestyle tournament. "Then I beat (Rauser) for the championship pretty easy. I just really had to think about the match because there was some pressure. Everybody kept walking up to me, telling me, 'Just one more.' I thought the kid I had was better at freestyle."
Zillmer never realized he became just the third wrestler to ever win the triple crown. He said he thought there had been dozens of triple crown winners and was surprised when he found out the elite company he was in.
"I was more excited about just winning the freestyle championship," Zillmer said. "I wasn't even thinking about the triple crown until I got off the mat and then I was just like, 'Whoa.' I never realized that only three people had won the triple crown."
Zillmer also wrestled for Team USA in a tournament in mid-June in Kansas City, Mo., where he compiled a 14-5 record in the 91-pound weight class.
Zillmer, who will run cross country for the Rangers this fall, trained with a 100-pound dummy to help simulate throws he would do in greco and freestyle, as well as a lot of running and other exercise to stay in top form.
"I didn't really lift many weights, maybe a little bit, but I ran about five miles every day," Zillmer said. "I also do push-ups and pull-ups. I also have a throwing dummy to simulate throwing in freestyle and greco."
Zillmer likes wrestling greco and freestyle the most because of the action that accompanies them and didn't have any problem training for all three disciplines.
"Both styles are a lot more fun and there's a lot of action going on with them," Zillmer said. "Greco is all upper body, you can't touch legs, so you try to do throws, duck-unders, slide-bys, things like that.
"Once you wrestle all three styles you have them pretty much down."
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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