Sadie Campsey lost her first wrestling match to a boy, and could have given up. Instead, she stuck with it and took the sport by storm.
“I got beat. Lost my first in the match really bad,” the 11-year-old said. “My dad told me, ‘You can just quit if you want. If you don’t want to wrestle, just tell me.’ I said, ‘No. I want to keep going.’”
Sadie took first place in the March 10 NYWAY state wrestling tournament in Brockport after placing second last year. Competing in the G3 class for girls born between 2005-07, she swept both her 88-92-pound competitors with early pins.
“It was a really good feeling,” Sadie said of winning her finals match with a pin of Natalie McDowell in one minute, 14 seconds. “It was a pretty easy match I guess.”
Fueled from her second-place finish last year, Sadie said she focused on studying her opposition to ensure she would come out on top.
“I watched the girl I faced in her first match, and I took down in my head what she had going for her — what was good about her defense, what was bad, what she was good at, what she’s not,” Sadie said of Zinay Vargas, who she pinned at 2:00. “That helped me a lot.”
Her father Beau said he was beaming with pride at what both his kids were able to accomplish. His son Bronco, who finished sixth last year, came back to place third this time around.
“It’s great seeing their hard work pay off,” he said. “There were a lot of nerves, but they both performed well above expectations and have grown with the competition.”
He laughed when saying it seems his daughter had a pretty stress-free showing.
“Sadie, she’s a pretty amazing girl,” Campsey said. “She gets butt whoopings every day in practice by the boys, so it seemed like she had an advantage against the girls in this tournament.”
Sadie got involved in the sport at age seven, after being in the wrestling room with her brother, then age five, when he first took to the mat.
“The boys were having fun doing it, so I figured, why not give it a try?” Sadie said. “As I went to more practices, I got better and better, to the point where I can beat some of the boys there.”
Her brother said things have changed a lot for him over the years.
“I like doing different moves, practicing them, and being able to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations,” the now nine-year-old said. “I lost my first match, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence last time around, but this year, I had a lot of confidence because I felt like I got a lot better.”
The pair train at Barn Brothers Wrestling Club in Manorville, after starting off their youth circuit journey in East Hampton. They train four days a week, and compete in tournaments and dual meets across the tri-state area, and even competed in a national tournament March 16 in Binghamton.
“They’ve probably wrestled more than most of the varsity kids out here have ever wrestled in their lives,” Campsey said, laughing. “With this they’ve built a foundation for other sports and for life. It’s amazing. I love it. It’s great to see as a parent.”
Sadie and Bronco also play lacrosse. While they both said they’ve enjoyed spending time with their teammates, the sister added she likes the energy and pace of play in both sports. Her brother giggled when saying it’s winning he likes best.
“What I’ve learned is, don’t let your emotions take over, and always give your best effort,” Sadie said. “It’s all that really matters.”