Blue Valley North wrestler excels against Down syndrome, competition

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Determination, it's one of the key character traits within every success story, including the one involving a unique high school wrestler.

Obstacles in life don't seem to bother 19-year old Patrick Chapman in the least. Some of that stems from him being a high school wrestler at Blue Valley North High School.

Some of it also comes from his will and desire to beat Down syndrome.

Since he was a ninth grader three years ago, Chapman has competed alongside other Mustang athletes, wrestling with skill as his condition doesn't affect his life in the least.

And if you think he's soft, think again. This wrestler is just as tough as the rest.

Video clips from his wrestling meets show he's not afraid of anyone, including wrestlers who don't have special needs.

"Wrestling is my favorite sport of all," Chapman said. "When you set your mind, you have to have a game plan because when you have a game plan, you're ready."

Since focusing on wrestling as a senior, Chapman has won several matches while wrestling at North High. Mustangs' Coach Dylan Hitchock says he was on the losing end of one of Patrick's pinfalls, and that grit has proven to be inspirational to this team.

"Patrick comes in here every day with a smile on his face," Hitchcock said. "He's ready to work hard and just gives everything he has. If he can do that, I think everyone else in this room can."

"For Patrick, I don't see anything holding him back," Mustangs wrestler Connor Kerth said. "He's basically like a normal wrestler, and a normal person. It just makes him who he is."

"I'm big and I'm strong because I work out doing wrestling," Chapman said.

Wrestling isn't his only sport. During his time at North High, Chapman has also been a member of the boys soccer team. His coaches say Patrick is proof that sports have their rewards for those who don't quit.

The Mustang wrestling team is preparing for the Eastern Kansas League Championships. A young squad from Blue Valley North goes for the league title this Saturday morning.

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