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Keldon LaRose notched his 100th career victory with the Guilford wrestling team this year. A senior captain, Keldon is looking to lead the Indians to another successful showing in the postseason. (Photo courtesy of Keldon LaRose )
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Keldon LaRose pinned down a big-time milestone in his final season as a member of the Guilford wrestling team. The senior captain is also proving a tremendous leader who’s competing for a cause.
Keldon joined the Indians’ cross country and wrestling programs after his family moved to Connecticut from Utah when he was in 8th grade. Last year, he took the Southern Connecticut Conference title in the 126-pound weight class as a junior. Now wrestling in the 138-pound division, Keldon continued his winning ways by claiming victory in 17 of his first 20 matches this season. He also earned his 100th career win by notching a pinfall victory versus Notre Dame-West Haven on Dec. 19.
“It meant the world to get 100 wins. I had to go through a lot of practices and tight matches where one second could’ve been the difference between a win and a loss,” says Keldon. “It symbolized the hard work me and my teammates both put in, because they pushed me. I’m thankful for all those around me with my team and family.”
Keldon is also making a positive impact in his community. Keldon organized a food drive to help people in need and then got his teammates involved in the fundraising effort.
“I introduced the team to a charity called Pinning Poverty. You get family and friends to sponsor you during the season, and they donate a dollar amount per pin you make,” says Keldon. “We take video of the pins, and we all face different opponents during the season, but poverty is a constant foe. We try to raise as much money as we can.”
While bulking up physically the past few years, Keldon has also built up his mental strength. As a result, he’s found the fortitude that’s helped him put a slew of victories in the books.
“I was at [113 pounds] my freshman year, so I was small and not confident in my physical abilities. I was trained by captains, and I was able to improve through watching and listening to the examples of those before me,” Keldon says. “One quote I try to live by is, ‘Try to choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong,’ because we are always tempted to give up.”
As a captain, Keldon wants to set a template of success for his fellow Indians. He also strives to foster a strong sense of unity amongst everyone on the squad.
“Being captain is a great responsibility that few of us have the chance to do,” says Keldon, whose brother McKayd also wrestled for the Indians. “It is a chance for me to improve myself and leave a legacy that other wrestlers can learn from. I want to unite everyone as a captain.”
Head Coach Craig Vedrani describes Keldon as a terrific role model both on and off that mat. He was especially impressed with how Keldon took initiative in spearheading the Pinning Poverty fundraiser.
“Keldon is extremely focused on reaching his goals,” Vedrani says. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to coach him throughout his career. The fundraiser he came up with is brilliant and shows what type of a person he is.”
Bolstered by an influx of fiery freshmen who were ready to roll, the Indians have stormed out to a solid start this winter. As Guilford works its way into the heart of the campaign, Keldon says that he wants to finish off his high school career by making a big bang in the postseason.
“We are ready to work hard to improve the team and be a family,” says Keldon, who thanks McKayd, along with Colin Rook and Drew Tischer, who were Guilford’s captains in his freshman year. “I had a goal of 100 wins, so now I want to follow in McKayd’s footsteps and be a Class M state champ and repeat as SCC champ. Winning a state title is the ultimate goal for a wrestler as an individual, but I also want to leave a strong legacy for the other wrestlers.”
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