COLUMBIA — Hickman wrestler J’den Cox made sure his older brother’s visit home from college would not be a disappointment. Cox, a Hickman freshman, dominated the 171-pound weight class this weekend at the Hickman Varsity Tournament.
J’den Cox’s older brother, Drae Cox, wrestles at 174 pounds for the three-time NAIA National Champion, Lindenwood University, in St. Charles. But this weekend, the older brother came to Columbia to watch his younger brother compete.
“I try to come home as often as I can, but it’s busy in the season too,” Drae Cox said. “I don’t come down as often as I’d like, but he’s still doing good without me here.”
J’den Cox, who is 14-years old, pinned two opponents, won one bout by technical fall, another by major decision, and won 9-2 in the championship match. The championship match was the only match where the freshman was unable to score bonus points for the Kewpies.
“He’s a really strong kid,” J’den Cox said of his opponent in the championship, Josh Howard of Lee’s Summit. “Those are the kids that everyone should want to wrestle.”
J’den Cox has been wrestling since he was 3 years old, and his older brother believes it is paying off now.
“Me and my older brother (Zach) used to beat him up quite a bit, but it worked because he’s tough now,” Drae Cox said. “The day that he was born, Zach and I were at a wrestling tournament, so he’s been around the sport for a while, plus he’s got a natural athletic ability, which gives him that deadly combination when he’s out there.”
After the tournament this weekend, the Kewpie now holds a record of 34-3 on the season, a record almost unheard of for a freshman at a weight class as competitive as 171.
“He just continues to refine his technique and stay sharp,” Hickman coach J.D. Coffman said. “Everyone I’ve talked to, refs, coaches, are all impressed with that man and that he’s only a freshman. It’s fun to watch those types of kids wrestle.”
Regardless of the fact that J’den Cox is dominating his high school opponents, he said his older brother still beats him when they wrestle.
“We all have different styles and paths,” J’den Cox said. “Drae wasn’t quite as successful as I’ve been when he was my age, but he found his way to success. I still consider him to be a way better wrestler than me. It’s good to see him here though.”
J’den Cox helped the Kewpies to an eighth-place finish in the 12-team tournament, while Rock Bridge finished in sixth place. Rock Bridge had one champion, junior Josh Braselton at 215 pounds. Both the Bruins and the Kewpies had four wrestlers finish in the top four in their respective weight classes.